In April, Chris Horner was training on the shores of Lake Como in preparation of the Giro d'Italia when he was hit by car suffering fractured ribs, a punctured lung and a lengthy stint on the sidelines. The 42-year-of American is set to make his comeback to racing at the Tour de Slovénie with the intention of performing well to book a place on Lampre-Merida's Tour de France team.
Also lining up alongside Horner will be two riders who recently completed the Giro; Diego Ulissi — who won two stages before withdrawing from the race due to fever — along with 22-year-old Slovenian Jan Polanc.
"In April I was training with enthusiasm, preparing the approach to Giro d'Italia," Horner said. "Unfortunately, I had to face this terrible accident that prevented me from being at the start of the corsa rosa and forced me into a period of inactivity."
It will be 70 days since the crash when Horner lines up for the individual time trial to open the UCI 2.1 Tour de Slovénie and the 2013 Vuelta a España winner knows the consequences could have been far worse.
"The crash in April was of course very difficult and scary, but I am grateful that it was not more severe," Horner said. "It could have easily been career or life threatening.
"It was hard for me to stop and to renounce participating in a top race for which I was training really hard for with passion and enthusiasm. The will to recover and to get back on the bike again gave me the power to make my comeback to racing."
Horner was unable to fly after the crash due to his punctured lung but has since travelled to his home country and gradually increased his training loads.
"I have I trained well in the recent few weeks, after which I recovered completely from the punctured lung. I flew back to Italy from USA towards the the end of May.
"The Tour de Slovénie is obviously an important appointment for me because I'll be able to get some interesting feedback on my condition."
Lampre-Merida are backing world champion Rui Costa for a high overall placing at the Tour de France although have suggested that Horner may also ride the race depending on how his return goes at the four-day Tour de Slovénie.
"At the end of the race, I'll evaluate with the team management and the technical staff about the possible participation in Tour de France."
Lampre-Merida for Tour de Slovénie: Ulissi Diego Ulissi, Jan Polanc, Valerio Conti, Luca Dodi, Manuele Mori, Andrea Palini, Luca Wackermann, Gang Xu and Chris Horner.