After a slow start, Chris Horner rose to the next level in 2005. With his first win in Europe and a breakthrough debut at the Tour de France, the man with the sunny San Diego disposition showed that he's capable of big performances at the big moments. Cyclingnews' Les Clarke got the word on '05 from Davitamon-Lotto's latest American import.
Last time Cyclingnews spoke with Chris Horner, he was preparing for his first Tour de France. Given another crack at the pro European peloton, Horner was determined to make the most of his chance on cycling's biggest stage and did just that, taking two top ten stage finishes and a solid 33rd overall. His 10th place finish on stage 13 was particularly notable as the American displayed strength, maturity and poise to almost take a stage win in his debut Tour.
Horner's racing season began with a solid third place in the USPRO Championship race in Philadelphia, coming back from a broken leg to be beaten by Chris Wherry and Danny Pate over 250 kilometres. Although confident going into the final three-man sprint, Horner also knew his usual kick in such situations was lacking and hence missed out on wearing the stars and stripes jersey for the next year. "The problem I had was that [the USPRO race] was my first weekend back racing after the broken leg, and was basically the start of my racing season. It was early June and I'd had two or three days of racing during the week - then it was the USPRO championship race, which is like 250 kilometres. I knew I was very strong there, but I was missing a really good acceleration that I normally have."
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