He just tested positive for clenbuterol, Alberto Contador’s least favorite steak seasoning. A sample from the Rogers’ Japan Cup — pee in cup, pee positive — means the team has suspended him while they wait for the results of the B-Sample.
One man’s bad Chinese food — that’s what Rogers is claiming as explanation — is another man’s last minute ride on a WorldTour squad. Should Rogers’ B sample come back with incremental bad news, then perhaps the lonely and unemployed Vuelta winner Chris Horner signs a contract with Mr. Tinkoff.
If the Danish-now-Russian squad has to sack Rogers, then there’s a huge roster hole for a talented climber and road captain to help Contador try to crack Sky and Chris Froome and prevent a second win for the South African.
Horner would only be too happy to take Rogers’ place in the Tour de France lineup. After all, he’s worked with Contador before when they both rode for Astana. The 42 year old knows all about Le Grand Shindig and it wouldn’t surprise us if Horner’s agent is already checking the temperature over at Saxo-Tinkoff.
Other than defending his Vuelta crown, there’s nothing Horner would rather do than ride the big races under the brightest spotlights. Nobody likes to fade out into retirement on a Continental team begging for invites to the big races — or worse, be forced to sign for some wacky Sky Dive unit from Dubai funded with desert oil money. Horner of Dubai sounds like a bad comedy and a horrible fate.
So Horner will be checking his cyclingnews updates every day as he and Rogers both await the B-sample results. Team manager Bjarne Riis and Contador will perhaps need a high quality mountain goat and, other than Sammy Sanchez, who is really left?
Now Sammy is Spanish and that’s a bonus for Contador but Horner’s performances in the Vuelta tops anything Sanchez did in 2013 by a wide, wide margin. There’s friendship and then there’s the guy who can pace you back up to Froome when you got dropped in the Alps.
Stranger things have happened in the world of pro cycling. Out with Rogers, in with Horner, wouldn’t stun anybody.