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Horner back in action at Tirreno-Adriatico

Chris Horner made his season debut at Tirreno-Adriatico, suffering in the wind and rain as his more powerful Radioshack-Leopard teammates set an infernal pace in the team time trial.

Radioshack finished second to Orica-GreenEdge in 2012 but was disappointed to finish tenth this year, 36 seconds slower than Omega Pharma-Quick Step. Horner was happy to have hung onto the coat tails of Fabian Cancellara, Danilo Hondo, Giacomo Nizzolo and Yaroslav Popovych.

"That was an intense start to the season…" he told Cyclingnews as he fought to pull on warm clothes immediately after finishing his ride.

"We've got a lot of big guys in the team and so I did all I could to just sit back there and hold on. It's amazing what they can do. If I'd done one turn on the front, I'd have been blasted out the back."

"They punched it so hard going out of the roundabouts and then quickly got back into the saddle and accelerate. I had to sprint just to get back on. I had to finish with them, so I just sat on. But it took a big effort."

Enthusiastic as ever

The veteran American turned 41 last October but seems as enthusiastic as ever. He finished second overall to Vincenzo Nibali last year, only losing the leader's jersey in the final time trial. He is hopeful of a similar result after spending the winter training quietly at home in USA.

"For the team it was about going for the win, so we're a bit disappointed. For me it was finishing with the team and about not losing too much time to the other overall contenders," he explained.

"Now I'll just be trying to survive until the mountain stages. I think I've got good form. Maybe about the same as last year. I hope so."

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.