"For me personally, it's a good thing to lose the jersey - for the sponsor I think it's an absolutely terrible thing," was Chris Horner's honest view of his surprise loss of the leader's jersey at the conclusion of stage 4 at the Vuelta a España on Tuesday.
"[From here on] I will be able to concentrate on the GC, without all the leader's [ceremony protocol] stuff, maybe an hour to an hour and a half [of leader's obligations] after each stage," Horner told Cyclingnews.
"For me personally, it was all about leading for one day."
Horner's loss of the Vuelta leader's jersey occurred after he was caught out by a late split in the peloton at the finish in Fisterra. Isolated from his teammates and unable to move ahead as the bunch slowed in the final metres, commissaires ruled there had been a six-second split.
With Nibali in 16th spot in the front group of 21 - and initially completely unaware that he had the lead again - and Horner in 26th, with a six-second time gap, the American was out of the jersey after just 24 hours in red.
"I got boxed in, there was a split very close to the line and I couldn't move out on either side," Horner said. "It wasn't a hard effort in terms of the finish, but we slowed down and I got boxed in so badly there wasn't anywhere for me to go.
"We used up the teammates that usually I have around me 100 percent beforehand, I was left to work on my own and I got boxed. By the time I got unboxed, the gap was there.
"I got trapped on one side, I could see the acceleration going on the other. It wasn't bad luck, you know it's going to happen, there's nothing you can do and if you get caught out....that was the way the race went."
Horner said that his RadioShack teammates had worked hard at the front of the bunch on a stage with nearly 3,000 metres of vertical climbing and where there were strongly gusting winds. He also said on Spanish television that he was determined to fight back for the leader's jersey in the future on the mountain stages to come. And in second place, with so little margin on Nibali, Horner is certainly in the ideal place to strike.
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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