Chris Horner's 20-year long professional cycling career may finally be at an end. According to L'Equipe, the American's agent Baden Cooke has advised him to retire, because he cannot find him a team for the 2016 season, but Cooke has informed Cyclingnews that this is not correct.
Horner, who turned 44 last week, raced this season with the Continental Airgas-Safeway squad after facing a similarly unfruitful contract hunt last year after he was not renewed with Lampre-Merida.
The winner of the 2013 Vuelta a España reportedly wants to continue racing, and is still in discussions with Airgas-Safeway, according to Cooke.
Horner turned professional with the Nutra Fig team in 1995, capturing his first big victory the following year at the Tour DuPont. Trailing then-race leader Lance Armstrong on the general classification by 23 minutes on stage 10, Horner escaped with Nate Reiss and the pair built up a large lead on the peloton. Horner out-sprinted Reiss and earned himself a spot on the FDJ team in 1997.
After racing for FDJ for three seasons, Horner returned to the US to race with Mercury, winning the Redlands Classic and Tour de Langkawi. He moved on to Prime Alliance in 2002, then to Saturn, with which he dominated the domestic scene in 2003.
Horner then moved onto the little-known Webcor squad for one season after Saturn's demise, before re-launching his European career with Saunier Duval in 2005. He then spent two seasons each with Lotto and Astana before joining RadioShack in 2010, with which he finished 10th in the Tour de France. He won the Tour of California and Vuelta al Pais Vasco, and landed on the podium at Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour of Utah before scoring his Grand Tour win.
Despite his Vuelta win, he was not renewed with RadioShack and moved onto Lampre-Merida. Although he completed the Tour de France and was second in the Tour of Utah, his season was plagued with illness and injury. He was kept out of the Vuelta a Espana because of low cortisol and then was not renewed with the Italian team.
He blamed his cortisol on medication he took for nagging lung issues dating back to the Tour de France. The issues continued this year, and he blamed his lack of results with Airgas-Safeway on the issues and criticised the UCI for not approving his request for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) that would allow him to take asthma medication in competition.