Six months ago, Chris Horner was between a 'rock' and a hard place. He had come to a contract impasse with his current team and was in on/off negotiations with the continental Rock Racing team, with neither team able to meet his terms. His future was uncertain, until an unlikely call from Johan Bruyneel and his new Astana team. Suddenly, Horner had everything he wanted in terms of a contract and on a ProTour team. Cyclingnews' North American Editor Mark Zalewski was on hand for the team's North American training camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and spoke with Horner about his new home.
When we spoke last with Chris Horner, his professional world was full of uncertainty. His team Predictor-Lotto, with which he had planned on re-signing for the next two seasons after a very strong showing at the Tour de France, working tirelessly for team-mate Cadel Evans and still managing fifteenth place overall. But when contract negotiations came around, Predictor-Lotto came up short, at least to what Horner thought he was worth.
"I honestly thought I was signing with Lotto," said Horner. "I wasn't asking for much more money and it was still at the low point of my worth, so I wasn't looking for other teams. But when I realized we weren't going to come to terms it was pretty late in the year! Then Rock called me; and talking with Michael Ball, if the deal had come through it would have been a really great contract."
But being so late in the season, Horner's options were limited. He did come close to signing with the Rock Racing team, as his Predictor-Lotto team-mate Freddie Rodriguez had done. However, Horner said he was never able to lock the terms he wanted with Rock Racing's owner Michael Ball.
"It was crazy with the contracts," laughed Horner. "A lot of stuff was getting printed that I had signed with Rock Racing, and it had never actually happened. I had to call a lot of the media to say I hadn't yet!"
However, Horner said that he had planned to sign a contract with the team. "I had flown over after the Tour of Spain to sign a contract with Rock Racing but it fell apart," said Horner. "I got the first version and it was wrong; version two was wrong; I couldn't ever get it written the way I needed it. The end result, from day one I said these certain things were not negotiable and I sat through twelve weeks of talks to get it to say that way."
For the full feature on Chris Horner, click here.