Chris Horner finally has an answer to the lung issues which have prevented him from being able to race at his best since 2014 - an infection by an antibiotic-resistant strain of the bacterium pseudomonas aeruginosa that he thinks he picked up in his last Tour de France, Business Insider reported Friday.
Horner signed with Lampre-Merida after winning the 2013 Vuelta a Espana with the aim of defending his title in Spain. But mid-way through the Tour de France, he came down with bronchitis, together with team leader Rui Costa.
He was kept out of the Vuelta a Espana in 2014 because of a high cortisol level due to a course of cortisone to treat his lung issues. Lacking results, he was not offered a renewal with Lampre, and signed with the Continental squad Airgas-Safeway. During the 2015 season, he continued to struggle with breathing issues, which he repeatedly treated with antibiotics.
"I knew there was some kind of bug down there, and they finally found it at the end of October," Horner said to Business Insider. "I did eight rounds of antibiotics and just finished my ninth.
"But of course each round has been different, and it's stronger antibiotics each time. Before this last round, they didn't know what they were trying to kill, so hopefully now that they've done the bronchoscopy, they know exactly what they're trying to kill."
Horner has yet to renew his contract with Airgas-Safeway, and seems to be hanging his continued career on whether or not he can kick this infection.
"I'm trying to keep the head in a good place, but if the season starts and I got a bug in the lungs, maybe I move on to something else," he said.
"If I can get healthy I'm gonna race my bike — if I can't, then I'm going to find something else to do. It's difficult, because it's not like a broken bone. If the doctors can fix it with antibiotics and the lungs go back to normal, and I have the same kind of legs I had this year at the Tour of Utah, then I'm going to race my bike and win a bunch of races. But if they can't, maybe I call it a career."