Danish manager confirms mutual interest
Chris Horner might make a move to Danish continental team Christina Watches. Manager Claus Hembo has confirmed to Danish paper BT that Horner's manager contacted the team. "We have been talking for a few days now. I have told his manager that we are very interested [in signing Horner]. We are honored. It shows that we have international stature."
Horner has been without a team since the beginning of the year, and is training in neutral kit in the United States while his manager tries to secure a job for him. The 42-year-old veteran was offered to teams including Europcar and Vini Fantini in 2013. His former team Lotto-Belisol ruled out a return, as did United Healthcare.
Trek Factory Racing, the latest iteration of his 2013 team, RadioShack-Leopard, was interested in signing the Vuelta winner, but negotiations ground to a halt because the team and rider couldn't agree on his salary.
“We have to prioritise the youngsters and above all, I can’t give Chris what he wants: we have other priorities,” team manager Luca Guercilena told Tuttobici in November.
"We need extra sponsor money to sign him," Hembo said. "I am calling my network at the moment. We need about 1.5 million [Danish krones - $273,000]. That's not his salary, it's what we need. I can imagine we need money like this. Imagine we line up for the Tour of Denmark with the Vuelta champion in our team."
Horner started his career in 1997 with Francaise des Jeux. He rode for smaller American teams between 2000 and 2004 before returning back to Europe late 2004 to join Saunier-Duval.
Almost all WorldTour and Procontinental teams have finalized their rosters for 2014 and preparations for the new season are in full swing. A continental team might be the only option left for the Vuelta winner. Juan José Cobo, the 2011 Vuelta winner, took the same route, signing with Turkish team Torku Sekerspor.
Christina Watches already has Stefan Schumacher and Constantino Zaballa under contract for 2014. Michael Rasmussen rode for the team in 2011 and 2012. He intends to become the team's sports director after his doping suspension ends in 2015.
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