Chris Horner (RadioShack Nissan-Trek) has experienced just about everything in his career, good and bad. In his time, he’s won every race in the United States including last year’s Tour of California.
He was victorious in his favorite race, the Tour of the Basque Country, a few years back. At 38 years of age, he finished in the 201o Tour de France in the top ten. He’s also had more than his fair share of crashes, injuries and misfortunes.
Still, in all that, he’s about to gain a new experience in tomorrow’s Amstel Gold race. Perennial Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck will be riding of Horner. How wild is that?
While Schleck is still having some issues with building form — even with iron man Johan Bruyneel in charge — he will play a supporting role for Horner. That must be kinda funny for the American.
You’ll recall that at the team presentation of the merged RadioShack and Leopard teams, Horner was quoted as saying that if Schleck wanted to win this year’s Tour de France, he had to arrive at the start of the race with better form. The media played that up as a critique of Horner but the man from Bend, Oregon never saw it that way. He’s a straight shooter and tells it like it is — that was just plain fact.
One of Horner’s major goals for the 2012 season is to be that final guy in the team with Andy on the last climb. The guy that’s there in the critical situations where Le Tour is won or lost. As he told us when we interviewed him in December for CYcle Sport magazine — that’s the most important guy on the team.
Perhaps Andy Schleck will doing something special for Horner at the Amstel Gold race. It’s a funny and ironic role reversal. The kid working for his captain, the 40 year old bald guy.