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Horner eyes return to Grand Tours

Chris Horner at the Tour de Georgia in 2008

Chris Horner at the Tour de Georgia in 2008 (Image credit: Mitch Clinton)

By Peter Hymas

The evergreen Chris Horner (Astana) is looking forward to his 15th season in the professional peloton with his typical zeal and verve. The 37-year-old kicks off his 2009 campaign at the Tour of California.

"Normally I'm a little bit rusty at California but it comes on shortly after that. I just started training again," Horner told Cyclingnews. "I always take off two to three weeks and start training in early January, so normally I get about five weeks on the bike by the time California starts. The form's always pretty decent there but it's nothing spectacular."

Horner detailed his initial race schedule, including a welcome return to the Grand Tours after a one-year hiatus. "After Tour of California I'll do Paris-Nice, Vuelta al País Vasco, Flèche Wallonne, Amstel Gold, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Giro d'Italia," said Horner. "I've got a great program. I could circle the whole year [as a highlight]. Any of those races are great races. As long as the form comes on somewhere I'm happy.

"It's my first time at the Giro," continued Horner. "It's still a bit long out to think about, but I know it's got a long time trial and a really short mountain stage. Those are the only two things that I've kind of picked out while I was reading the route maps."

Horner commented on the issue of age with both he and Lance Armstrong the Astana veterans at 37 years old. "Over in Europe my results have just been getting better and better each year," he noted. "I don't see any reason why Lance should have an issue. He's had some time off the bike but he's had some good training leading up to this season. I'm sure he's done some hard rides because I know he was doing that at training camp."

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Based in the southeastern United States, Peter produces race coverage for all disciplines, edits news and writes features. The New Jersey native has 30 years of road racing and cyclo-cross experience, starting in the early 1980s as a Junior in the days of toe clips and leather hairnets. Over the years he's had the good fortune to race throughout the United States and has competed in national championships for both road and 'cross in the Junior and Masters categories. The passion for cycling started young, as before he switched to the road Peter's mission in life was catching big air on his BMX bike.