Wheel manufacturer Knight Composites issued a press release today, naming Chris Horner as a product champion, and in doing so gave a strong hint that the 44-year-old will continue racing this season.
"In addition to continuing his career in professional cycling, Chis will assume the role of lead Road Brand Champion for Knight, responsible for road testing and helping to establish partnerships with clubs," the press release stated.
Late last year, Horner's agent Baden Cooke vehemently denied an account published in L'Equipe that Horner would retire. He stated that Horner was still in negotiations with Team Illuminate, the 2016 incarnation of Airgas-Safeway. Calls and e-mails to team manager Chris Johnson continue to go unanswered.
However, Knight Composites confirmed to Cyclingnews that they will continue to sponsor the team. "Yes we are supporting Illuminate and the United States Military Endurance Sports team (USMES.org) this year. Both are a very good fit for us," a spokesperson said, but refused to comment on the status of Horner's negotiations.
If he continues racing this season, it will be Horner's 22nd year in the pro peloton. Horner is not the oldest rider currently on a UCI team, however - Davide Rebellin is just over two months older than Horner, and is in his fourth straight season with CCC Sprandi-Polkowice. Japanese racer Kazuyuki Manabe of Matrix Powertag is the oldest - he will turn 46 in February.
Horner said in December that his racing career depends upon being cured of a bacterial infection in his lungs which has plagued him since the 2014 Tour de France.