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Chris Horner appoints Baden Cooke as his new representative

Jeff Quénet
January 10, 11:35,
January 10, 11:33
Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, January 10, 2014
Chris Horner drops Vincenzo Nibali on the Alto de l'Angliru

Chris Horner drops Vincenzo Nibali on the Alto de l'Angliru

  • Chris Horner drops Vincenzo Nibali on the Alto de l'Angliru
  • Vuelta winner: Chris Horner (RadioShack)
  • Thumbs up: Chris Horner in red on the final day
  • Luca Guercilena and Christopher Horner (RadioShack - Leopard)

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Former sprinter still hopeful for a WorldTour ticket for Vuelta winner

Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Horner is yet to find a new team but he has a new agent in the form of recently retired sprinter Baden Cooke who has started the new year with the task of calling teams for his former team-mate after he received a phone call from him on December 31st.

"His past agent [Michael Rutherford] was not able to find something", Cooke told Cyclingnews ahead of the Australian road championship in Ballarat, Victoria. "Normally, everything is done in terms of riders' contracts a long time before this time of the year, but when Chris called me, I said I would do it because since we've been team-mates in my very first professional team, Mercury [in 2000 and 2001], I've always known how good he is as a bike rider. He's been underrated until he won the Vuelta but he's been one of the most consistent champions of the past ten years."

"I was a big fan when he raced the Vuelta for the win", Cooke continued. "I was surprised he didn't get a contract. Now I hope I can save the day for him. I've contacted many teams and I got a lot of negative answers, either because their roster is already full or because they want younger riders only, but there are still some possibilities in the air in the World Tour. Ideally, he'd race in support of a Tour de France contender and defend his title at the Vuelta. He's in the best form of his entire career and he's the cheapest Grand Tour winner of the past decade."

Cooke, 35, retired from cycling after riding his fourteenth season as a professional. He's not a UCI certified agent yet. "Until I pass the exam in September, I'm working for free and on a verbal basis with the riders", the green jersey winner of the 2003 Tour de France said. "It's coming faster than I expected. Many cyclists have contacted me. But although I represent the oldest rider, my big emphasis is on young guys. I want to take young Australians to Europe."

Thomas Russell 8 months ago
Chris, save yourself the money and live off it instead of paying someone else. You'll be better off.
philjthommo 8 months ago
i would imagine by the sounds of it they may have a % of Honers contract as payment. So no contract no payment.
rshimizu12 8 months ago
I keep hoping Chris Horner will get a contract this year. But this seems less and less likely now.
GoatHerd 8 months ago
There is something that the Joe Public isn't being told. Horner is insisting on wages that are unrealistic, or insiders are suspecting his Vuelta performance, or there`s something else. Maybe his past injuries are serious enough that racing may be doubtful. There is something here that we`re not being told & that will surface down the road...
bianchi1885 8 months ago
I don't think there's anything complicated here at all ... after winning the Vuelta in September 2013, Horner insisted on a pricey, multiyear contract. During that time frame (Fall 2013), teams weren't biting at paying that much for that long for a 42/43 year old rider with a history of injury. Before long, we're into November/December 2013 and rosters are full. In hindsight, he will probably tell you he overestimated his market value on his initial ask. Don't get me wrong, I think he is worth what he wanted because he's exciting to watch ... but the teams with checkbooks didn't feel that way. I'm hopeful some team will give him a one-year deal so we can see him defend his Vuelta title.
KatoMiler 8 months ago
Makes a lot of sense. Maybe it was his agent who set the high price… and not Horner. Honestly though, after following Horner's career closely for the past 10 years, I think Chris' real worth is in what he can teach by racing with up-and-comers. And I really like him in support of other gran tour contenders. I've never seen, read about, listened to a smarter bike racer. The guy has been so under-rated for so long. And he's done so much for the U.S. domestic race scene. I sincerely hope he finds a team and can pass along, both in performance and knowledge, what he has to contribute.
sbroaddus 8 months ago
i agree, except that even you are selling him short by referring to him as a support rider when he is a current grand tour champion. it's a shame that not a single director of a world tour team can show a current grand tour winnner the respect of offering him a contract. Sure, he may have been asking too much early last fall, but you can bet he would accept something less than that now. Horner is a consummate professional, and you can also bet that if he gets a chance to defend his Vuelta title 9 months from now he will be focused like a laser and possibly fool everybody once again. Nibali and the others saw the writing on the wall last fall BEFORE the stage to L'Angliru.... the peloton certainly knows how good he is.
GuyIncognito 8 months ago
Jonathan Vaughters disagrees. Then he proceeded to compare Horner to Cobo.
mjbx101 8 months ago
Vaughters resents Horner because they are the same age and raced against each other, but now Horner is still winning races while Vaughters is a team director/poseur.
antmills 8 months ago
What B*******
azureskies 8 months ago
Interesting, Vaughters would tear up on Horner. Why?
bianchi1885 8 months ago
Good one!
djmonkeypilot 8 months ago
Not necessarily. Timing plays a key part. Most negotiations for the following year were finalised by the end of the Vuelta, a lot of the negotiations happen during the Tour (and unofficially before). Budgets in most teams are more restricted especially for a GT contender who isn't that marketable in Europe (being American, old and with rumours about his past.) He may pick up a new contract if one of the benefactors of the big teams (e.g. Tinkoff) wants to put their hand in there pocket to sign him.
antmills 8 months ago
Hello????? ..... Where have you been, to wonder what "Joe Public" is missing? ....... We know just as well as anyone, exactly why.
wirral 8 months ago
Expect to see Chris Horner going for some big races next season.
PCM Geek 8 months ago
How is he going to do that while not being on a team that can be invited to "some big races?" Maybe he can get in to some local masters crits and road races but world tour races... Not going to happen. He needs to start accepting reality. There aren't any spots on any teams. Time to start looking for another career....
no crostis, no party 8 months ago
how about Astana? Astana dropped that Italian, Pellizotti or was it Pozzato? I get them mixed up. Chris could support Nibbles at the tour and go for the Vuelta, or even the Giro. Yeah, they have Scarponi but they wanted the other Italian, too, and then cut him loose.
euphrades 8 months ago
He is damaged goods......he may have raced clean at the Vuelta but I do remember the pictures of Lance, Levi and him on a Colorado mountain after training before Armstrong's comeback. Hard to believe he didn't' know what was going on.
KatoMiler 8 months ago
Yea, I agree with the part about hard to believe he didn't know what was going on. Hard for me to believe that too. Not sure about the damaged goods part though. Horner went to FDJ early in his career, got blown out the back, wasn't back in Europe until later. I remember watching a local interview with Mike Sayers saying he and most of his U.S. domestic teammates had the same experience. Sayers said he and his teammates could race all season in the U.S., and dominate. Then as soon as they went overseas and raced against other pro teams, they could hardly find the front of the peloton. Sayers inferred he and his teammates eventually knew what was going on, but claims they never took part. Horner could be valuable to a team in so many ways… as a performer, as a mentor, as a team leader supporting other protected riders. I sincerely hope he finds a team.
Hill Special 1980 8 months ago
Seems like a good move. If I was in Horner's position I would accept a low or even zero salary to join a WT team and focus more on bonuses, prize money, endorsements, product licensing, interviews, public speaking blah blah. Whatever you think about his story it makes good copy and he should concentrate on his brand image not his monthly cheque. Also think longer term, if he can get WT points this year and use his points from Vuelta '13 he can probably ride again in 2015 and perhaps carry that goodwill over into a management role when he retires from racing. At the moment his brand is looking pretty flaky, toxic even, he needs to turn that around quick.
PCM Geek 8 months ago
I agree with you Hill, but even if he rides for free, are there any spots left on any WT teams? Or even Pro Continental? He needs to start planning for his future and unfortunately there doesn't appear to be a future in cycling, at least not as a rider. Maybe as a DS or a coach but not as a rider...
webvan 8 months ago
Based on what Baden Cooke said it seems there are still some spots available, where I'm not sure though, anyone knows? Someone mentioned Tinkoff...Alberto could certainly use as much help as he can get in the TDF, he does seem to have a preference for Sanchez though.
lostintexas 8 months ago
Hill, Best comment yet.
Hill Special 1980 8 months ago
As far as I know several of the WT teams still have less than the maximum 30 riders, so theoretically there are free spaces, but the question is one of budgets. WT teams can run with between 25 and 30 riders I believe.
niggarigga 8 months ago
I love Horner but he is a bit awkward in his public relations, which I think is cute since I'm the same way myself. Not a selling factor though in these times of medial revolution and expected buttlicking, unfortunately. LA didn't lick no butt neither and THAT's why the world hates him. Both true heroes though, in their own ways...
Strydz 8 months ago
sbroaddus 8 months ago
one looks at the comment, then the name, then rolls their eyes and just has to wonder what in the world......
antmills 8 months ago
Anonymous 8 months ago
Chris, don't make the same mistake Lance did. Just walk away before you get caught.
Daniel Russell 8 months ago
Chris taught Baden how to dope when they both rode for Mercury, this is just a thank you.
Oxygen Vector 8 months ago
And you know this how? Oh wait - a friend of a friend of a friend told you, lol
antmills 8 months ago
..... Best comment yet! .... Made me chuckle ...... and not because it isn't correct!
SeventhSon 8 months ago
You sir, have employed a double-negative. But don't think we haven't understood you.
ORRagu 8 months ago
Teams don't want to sign a 40+ year old rider prone to injuries that ask for too much money. He's too much of a gamble. Even if he did win the Vuelta how many races did he compete in last year? And look at the past 5 years... how many injuries has he sustained? Too many. If he was asking for 1/2 of what he first requested back in the fall he'd have found a team. Too bad... he still has 1-2 good years in him.
no crostis, no party 8 months ago
"Prone to injuries"??? What bike racer hasn't been injured multiple times?