After months of uncertainty, Chris Horner has finally found a team for the 2016 season, signing on with the Lupus Racing Team. The news comes days after Slovenian Jure Kocjan, who had been slated to lead the up and coming squad, was provisionally suspended by the UCI after one of his 2012 doping control samples was re-analysed and found positive for EPO. The team fired Kocjan upon hearing the news.
Horner had been in negotiations with his 2015 team, now Team Illuminate (formerly Airgas-Safeway), but was uncertain whether he would be able to race because of a lingering bacterial lung infection that has resisted anti-biotic treatments.
Lupus directeur sportif Phil Cortes said he is excited to have a proven champion like Horner as part of the team. "He wanted to continue his racing career, and was eager to be part of our growing program. We are focused on making a solid presence in every race in which we compete this year. It’s all about being aggressive and being the best each and every day, and for years to come. Chris will be a great leader for our young team,” Cortes said.
Horner, winner of the 2013 Vuelta a Espana, has been struggling since the 2014 Tour de France with lung problems, but still managed to finish fifth in Tour of Utah, fourth in the Tour d'Azerbaidjan, and ninth in Tour of the Gila last year, showing that there is still plenty of spark left in his 44-year-old body. He has been driven to overcome his health problems and continue racing this season.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for me and I am very glad to race with the Lupus Racing Team. It was a priority for me to continue racing this year with a US-based team. The Lupus team has put together a solid roster and has a great reputation. I couldn’t be more excited about 2016,” Horner said.
The team is currently in Georgia for its winter training camp, and will hold its team presentation on Friday evening at Peachtree Bikes in Sandy Springs.
Lupus Racing Team for 2016: Chad Beyer, Winston David, Oliver Flautt, Chris Horner, Matthieu Jeannes, Marcos Lazzarotto, Bryan Lewis, Jonah Mead-VanCourt, Barry Miller, Evan Murphy, Michael Olheiser, Michael Stone, Nolan Tankersley, Nicolae Tanovitchii, Thomas Vaubourzeix.