Cooke in discussions with two new teams over Horner

Australian also working for Steegmans and Brajkovic

Chris Horner’s future remains uncertain however his agent, Baden Cooke, has told Cyclingnews that he is in discussions with three teams over the rider’s future.

Horner rode for Lampre-Merida this year but was forced to miss the Giro d’Italia through injury. He came back and rode the Tour de France in order to prepare for the Vuelta a Espana, but missed the defence of his title due to low cortisol levels picked up in a pre-race MPCC test.

Last month Lampre general manager, Brent Copeland, told Cyclingnews that Horner’s chances of remaining at Lampre were ’50-50’ and, although Lampre’s position hasn’t changed, Cooke has approached other teams as he looks to secure Horner’s future.

“We’re talking with two other teams and we’re hopeful of finding him a home. We’re talking to another WorldTour and Pro Continental team but that’s all I can tell you at the moment,” Cooke told Cyclingnews.

“I’ve not spoken to Lampre in the last few days but they’ve not said no so things are ongoing there too,” he added.

Cooke came to Horner’s aid last winter when it looked as though the American rider would be forced to hang up his wheels after a career dating back to the mid-1990s. However, in February of this year Cooke pulled off a coup, finding a place for Horner,42, at WorldTour level. Both agent and rider are hoping that any last minute histrionics can be avoided this time around.

“We signed in February last year but honestly we’re hoping to have something in place by the end of the month. I’m knocking on every door.”

Lampre-Merida, as with other WorldTour applicants, must deposit 23 contracts with the UCI by Monday. According to Copeland the team have the sufficient number, even without Horner on board. However, speaking to Cyclingnews Thursday morning, Copeland stressed that although no contract had been offered by the team, his personal opinion was that Horner deserved another year on the squad.

“We’re still sitting in the same place as we were a few weeks ago. We need to send in 23 contracts with the UCI for Monday and we have them sorted. Chris isn’t one of those. We will know more about the situation with Chris by the end of October. It’s still 50-50 but my personal opinion is that he deserves another season.”

Cooke, meanwhile, has prolonged his residence in Europe, putting off his return home to Australia for the winter, as he searches for contracts. He also has Geert Steegmans and Janez Brajkovic on his books, both without deal for 2015. Brajkovic only came on board with the Australian agent earlier this month.

“It’s a tough situation because with the Alonso team not coming about there’s some extremely good guys on the market. Steegmans and Brajkovic are with me and they’re still looking for contracts as well. I’m pretty hopefully we’ll have something for them as well.”
 

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