Horner, lungs and lupus.
The Smiler has landed — or maybe we should call him the Cougher.
44 year old Chris Horner, the first American to win the Vuelta a Espana back in 2013, has found a new team for the 2016 season.
He signed for Lupus Racing and that’s the ideal operation for a man with lung problems who is on his, what? — ninth or tenth course of serious antibiotics. We’d be surprised if he has an immune system left after that kind of self-administered Pharma abuse. But if anyone can help and support and understand his aliments, it’s Lupus.
It’s sort off like a diabetic signing with Novo Nordisk, a sugar addict hooking up the Jelly Belly or a bald rider finding a spot at Giant Alpecin and hoping the application of that hair regrowth product will solve the problem.
To quote wiki, lupus erythematosus is a name given to a collection of autoimmune diseases in which the human immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissues. Symptoms can affect many different body systems, including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart and lungs.
As Horner stated the other day, “If my lungs come good, you’ll see my full potential.” That hasn’t happened since he picked up bronchitis at the 2014 Tour de France and managed to keep it. Those French bugs just don’t seem to want to leave.
His lungs did not come good in his underwhelming season with Airgas-Safeway and now he heads to Lupus where they understand a deeply compromised immune system. Horner at 90% is a helluva rider even at 44 — he was fifth overall in the Tour of Utah — but it’s hard to imagine he’ll reach a full recovery. It would seem the best therapy would be totally and absolute rest but the man wants to keep turning the pedals.
You have to love an respect a guy with such a passion for bike racing. That said, a high performance set of lungs is kinda cost of entry for this sport. He might not have lost too many watts on the power meter, but it ain’t easy to reach the podium when you can’t breathe.
We suspect this will be another disappointing year for Horner in terms of results. Some riders lose their passion, others miss their friends and family, some can’t get a contract anymore and one is running out of air.