Why didn’t BMC hire Horner?
Why not an English speaker for the Aussi Evans and or the American Tejay van Garderen? Why not a guy who has ridden for Evans, roomed with him and knows him inside and out?
It’s been well documented that Evans needs calm, a large measure of tranquillo, to function well so why throw a Spaniard into the mix when the known quality — Horner — was looking for a ride and dropping his price dramatically.
That just strikes us as kinda curious.
Horner has raced against van Garderen a number of times in the Tour of California. As team boss Allan Peiper builds a strong core of Tour riders around the young van Garderen, wouldn’t Horner’s vast grand tour experience and tactical skill have been a huge asset?
Could you find a better mentor for van Garderen than Horner? You’d think that would be a nice way to wind down a career with a little give-back to a fellow American who hopes to win the Tour de France someday.
After reading Wheelmen — the Wall Street Journal’s deep dive into Lance Armstrong’s corrupt rise to Tour champion — it’s clear that Lance and BMC principal Jim Ochowicz have a long history. Now remember that Horner remains an Armstrong loyalist to this very day. Wouldn’t that sway the choice between Horner and Sanchez in favor of the Smiler?
Things are complicated these day in pro cycling. Lots of buried secrets, bad blood and past trangressions. The whole sport has basically flicked itself.
But back to the pressing quandry: can it really be that Lampre-Merida has deeper pockets than rich man Andy Rhys?
Now maybe the contract timing was off and Horner had already committed to Lampre-Merida when BMC fired Allessandro Ballan and a roster spot opened up. Horner didn’t have a lot of options and had to jump at the Lampre offer.
Then again, BMC have known Ballan was in deep trouble for years and nobody would have batted an eye if they’d fired him six months ago to hire Horner at a bargain basement price. That’s
instant super-domestique climber for Evans or van Garderen. Help them out and if you’re not too exhausted at age 42, year, sure, take another crack at the Vuelta for us.
This is perhaps one of those mysteries that never gets a good answer. But we’d sure like to have a few beers with Allan Peiper and get the true story on why Sanchez made more sense than Horner.