Chris Horner’s (RadioShack) attempt to break into the top five at the Tour de France has got off to an almost flawless start. The American made the decisive split on stage 1, avoiding crashes and time gaps, while he and his Radioshack teammates finished 6th at 10 seconds in Sunday’s team time trial. Horner currently lies in 21st place overall, just ten seconds off the yellow jersey.
“I think it’s been the perfect start,” he told Cyclingnews after the stage 2 team time trial.
“I’m happy and totally content. We’ve avoided crashes time splits and in the team time trial we had a strong performance.”
Horner came into the race aiming for a top five place after finishing 10th last year. However he told Cyclingnews days before the start that a podium place wasn’t out of the question if he could regain the form that carried him to the overall win at May’s Tour of California.
Coming into the Tour, Horner under-trained and is hoping to find his top form after a week of racing.
“I think I’m a little bit under form at the moment but I think that’s to be expected because I did a little bit less training than I did for California in the hope that this hard week of racing here would bring the form up to that really high level. I’m confident that my form will peak again You have to remember this is the third peak for me this season and it’s pretty hard to keep turning the engine on and off.
“I got a great programme doing the best races in the world, so I’m confident that in the next four or five days I’ll be at my highest level.”
With the race still several days away from the first Pyrenean tests, Horner and his RadioShack teammates will be hoping to keep out of trouble and out of sight in the peloton, waiting to exploit any numerical advantage they can in the mountains. Yet the main priority until then is to avoid mistakes, crashes and splits.
“You don’t want to lose any time. We’re not trying to gain time but if it happens that would be great. There was a lot of time lost yesterday [Saturday] for the favourites, luckily that wasn’t us.”