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Report: Chris Horner close to joining Christina Watches

José Been
January 12, 09:55,
January 12, 11:49
First Edition Cycling News, Monday, January 13, 2014
Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard) seals Vuelta a Espana victory on the Angliru.

Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard) seals Vuelta a Espana victory on the Angliru.

  • Chris Horner (RadioShack Leopard) seals Vuelta a Espana victory on the Angliru.
  • Chris Horner drops Vincenzo Nibali on the Alto de l'Angliru
  • Vuelta winner: Chris Horner (RadioShack)
  • Chris Horner (RadioShack)

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Baden Cooke denies a deal has been agreed with Danish team

Chris Horner is close to joining the Christina Watches on a three-year deal, Danish newspaper BT reports. The American Vuelta a Espana winner and the Danish continental team were first linked one week ago and it seems the two parties have made signficant progress towards reaching a three-year deal thanks to Horner apparently finding a personal backer to fund his salary while riding for the Danish team.

The team and Horner's new agent Baden Cooke have reportedly agreed upon a deal. "We know the terms of our contract," Christina Watches owner Claus Hembo told BT. The key to the deal is Horner's personal contract with his sponsor outside of Denmark. "Horner and the investor will meet and we hope they can reach an agreement," Hembo explained. Horner will only ride for the small Danish team if both contracts are signed. 

Last year Horner became the oldest Grand Tour winner in history with his victory in the Vuelta a Espana. The American rider is now 42 years old but a three year contract, something the investor wants, doesn't seem to deter Hembo.

"It's a three-year contract because the company wants this. We think this may work and that Horner is the man that can get us Professional Continental status." 

The three-year contract between the investment company and Horner is a two years plus one deal. "It was the same when we hired Michael Rasmussen," Hembo told BT.

"Horner might quit after two years. If he does not want the third year he is guaranteed a job with the company if he signs that personal contract."

Whether the deal succeeds, apparently depends on the negotiations between Horner and the undisclosed company. His new agent Baden Cooke told Cyclingnews that there were still possibilities Horner could ride in the WorldTour. However the Australian and Horner's former teammate has yet to convince a major team to sign Horner, despite his Vuelta victory. Teams like Unitedhealthcare and Lotto-Belisol have already denied any interest in Horner. He failed to reach a deal with the new Trek Factory Racing team because they refused to meet his salary requests.

Signing with a Continental level team means that Horner can't ride WorldTour races. Continental status only allows the team to ride 2.HC races in the country of registration, i.e. the Tour of Denmark, or receive invitations for smaller races around the world. Horner was not at the Vuelta route presentation in Spain on Saturday and would not be able to defend his 2013 Vuelta victory if he joins the Christina Watches team.

Cooke reacts

Cyclingnews tried to contact Baden Cooke via email but the Australian did not reply after spending the day at the Australian national championships. He later denied that a deal had been done via Twitter, writing:

"Christina Watches are using some cheap tactics saying on cyclingnews that I have agreed to a deal for @hornerakg. This is false."

"We are in talks with multiple teams including those in the World Tour. Christina Watches have made an offer, thats it."



Pokerface07 8 months ago
So it looks like all he wants to do is cash a few more paycheques before riding off into the sunset. Obviously not interested in top-level racing. Which is odd for a Vuelta champion.
Eddie A. 8 months ago
You obviously have no clue what you are writing about. Did you even follow the process of the recent months when he desparately tried to get a place in any Pro-Tour-Team?
FabiquesAnquetillara 8 months ago
desperately? He was offered contract by Trek. He said no. He overlooked his age, smaller budget of his team (which nearly went bancrupt and closed last year after Radioshack left and Becca pulled the plug - Trek stepping in was miracle), economic situation in cycling in general, demand/supply situation on riders market. All of that Horner overlooked. He wanted more, end up with nothing. Only his fault. Going to Christina Watches is desperate. Desperate and pathetic. Chris Horner obviously did not read "The Fisherman and His Wife" fairy tale when little. He missed something by it. Asking for more could easily lead to have nothing. He overshot. I am sure now he would have been totally happy for original Trek contract, that few months ago seems too low for him. I am sure Christina Watches money is even lower (quality of races way way lower goes without saying).
Pokerface07 8 months ago
Actually - YOU obviously have no clue what you are writing about. As has been pointed out, he was offered a contract with at least one Pro Tour team. Maybe more. He just wasn't happy with the money. Now that most rosters are full, he can't get a spot even at a reduced salary because the spots just don't exist. Well played Horner.
Chuck_T 8 months ago
Of course we can't know the ins and outs of the negotiations with Trek but on the surface it does seem as if Horner has overplayed his hand. Riding for Christina Watches will mean virtual anonymity and riding at a level well below what he's capable of. Motivation might be hard to come by after winning a GT ?
two20john 8 months ago
Yeah right. Being at Pro at 42 he's obviously looking for an easy life.
nowhereman 8 months ago
The snark doesn't work on this one. Now Horner will have to satisfy himself with lower tier riding, when had he been more attentive to the situation he would have stayed in t top level team. He would not have had to howl at the moon about his miscalculations. Can't wait for him to sign, and then disappear. This story needs to be closed out, it's boring at this point.
Cance > TheRest 8 months ago
According to, Bade Cooke doesn't really agree with the statements Hembo has launched. Cooke says that CWO is just one among other teams who has put down an offer, something in contrast to what Hembo says here. He even classifies Hembo's comments as a "cheap tactic"
bike_boy 8 months ago
People wouldn't believe you if you made this story up. The defending GT tour winner can't get a ride with a proper team, yet this mob will offer him a 3 year deal? Hope it includes a walking frame.
bike_boy 8 months ago
I would like to add, I think it's a complete joke he's not riding for a WT team this year.
movingtarget 8 months ago
Age discrimination at it's worst. I don't blame him expecting a fair contract after winning the Vuelta. What shame he can't attempt to defend his title. Horner does not deserve this. Also good to see he won't ride for biscuits on a Pro Tour team.
Wallace 8 months ago
"Age Discrimination? In professional sports? I know a lot of people love Horner because he's a fellow old-timer, has worked his way up, has that roguish glint in his eyes, and America! #1! etc., but there is this thing called mortality which seems to apply to, I don't know, every athlete in human history (insert up-speak)? Still, it hardly seems unfair for for teams owners to consider what are generally considered to be the facts of human physiology (granted these facts don't apply to Horner) before they start figuring out how many zeros should be on one of the paychecks they're about to sign.
wrinklyvet 8 months ago
Mortality - "Mortality is the state of being mortal, or susceptible to death." Yes, it applies to us all, but don't you think you over-dramatise the situation using this expression about Horner at 42? I suppose I see it differently as he is only a couple of years older than my eldest son. Yes, most athletes find some aspects of performance as a 40-odd-year-old more difficult than they did as youngsters, but they gain experience, tactics, persistence and skill, so the fact of the matter is that what Horner did is not impossible. As you will guess, I am not American. But I give him credit for what he achieved and I believe there is more in him. Unless he discloses the full details of his (so far) failed negotiations, which I doubt he will, none of these critics will be able to say to what extent, if at all, he overplayed his hand. These are unusual times.
Mike Cross 8 months ago
Unless the deal with his new personal sponsor depends upon the sponsor wanting the partnership to be only with Christina Watches, Horner might have been better off taking the sponsor to a higher-ranked team and thereby riding in WorldTour races, thus overcoming the salary problems that reportedly turned higher-ranked teams off him.
GoatHerd 8 months ago
So true... If he can do this for Christina, why not for a proper team like Trek? Unless, that is, this sponsor clashes w/ the other teams.
webvan 8 months ago
Yes it makes no sense unless the "personal backer" has special inerests in Horner racing the Tour of Denmark...which is a bit hard to fathom. What a mess!
Chrono 8 months ago
Well whatever people's varying opinions in terms of liking or dis-liking Horner, he certainly sits somewhere near the top of the pile in terms of sportsmen over-playing their hands and messing up contract negotiations. What an utterly shambolic way to follow-up his Vuelta win.
ShawnB 8 months ago
But that's classic Horner: Thinks he's a tactical genius b/c people have told him that enough times that he believes his own hype. Can you imagine being his agent? He'd second-guess every move you made, and stuff it up in the end because he thinks he's smarter than everyone else involved. This has all happened before with CH, repeatedly: For instance, watch him blow his big chance at winning Stage 13 of the '05 TdF from a breakaway, due to exactly the same hubris.. Reeled in in the last 400m due to relentless d!ckering w/ Chavanel and stubbornly not being willing to pull at all in the last K. Ruined it for both of them; cut off nose to spite face; delayed career: Mission accomplished.
Lucifa 8 months ago
Cool story bro.......... Has nothing to do with the current situation though.
sbroaddus 8 months ago
the dissing just won't stop from some people, like the faucet is stuck and you just can't say enough bad things about our current Vuelta champion. and you pretend you really know what's going on in his head - talk about hubris! whatever makes you feel better about yourself, i guess.
Devilen 8 months ago
He got dropped on the market by Euskatel folding, after all the WT teams having shopped what they needed in that price class, and have tried the hardest to get something ... anything
nuvolablu 8 months ago
Baden Cooke ‏@badencooke 1m Christina Watches are using some cheap tactics saying on cyclingnews that I have agreed to a deal for @hornerakg. This is false.
Nilsson 8 months ago
Which pretty much means Horner is definitely not going to Christina Watches.
lastplacerider 8 months ago
Did Cooke actually hurt his chances with Christina Watches with the "cheap trick" comment? I would like to see him at least at the Pro Conti level to get a shot at a World Tour event.
wheel chaser 8 months ago
Strange that Horner would sign on Baden Cook for a few days just to ink a deal with a continental team. I think riding means more to him than a paycheck.
Strydz 8 months ago
According to Baden Cooke and twitter Baden Cooke ✔ @badencooke Follow Christina Watches are using some cheap tactics saying on cyclingnews that I have agreed to a deal for @hornerakg. This is false. 10:26 PM - 12 Jan 2014
Tony M 8 months ago
Where were his friends when he needed them; was there nobody to tell him to be realistic in his Financial demands and perhaps get a deal based on appearances ,sélections and results?
SourKraut 8 months ago
Curious if most of you bothered to read the last section of the article.
GuyIncognito 8 months ago
That was only added afterwards. he comments that pointed out what Cooke said came much earlier
SourKraut 8 months ago
thanks for clarifying GuyIncognito. That wouldn't have been evident from any "ed note" in the article. I suppose the thumbs down I received came from those who, rather than ride their bikes, check this website obsessively and hope to some day get paid for their comments.