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by Shane Stokes
June 12, 2014
The 2013 Vuelta a España winner Chris Horner’s chances of riding the Tour de France will hinge on his performance in the upcoming Tour of Slovenia, which begins on June 19th and runs for four days.
Horner was due to target this year’s Giro d’Italia but was forced to ditch those plans when he was hit by a car on April 11th while training in Italy. He was left with rib fractures and a punctured lung, and spent time in hospital.
Horner gradually returned to training and since then has been working on his return to competition. That will now happen in just over a week’s time when he competes in Slovenia.
“In April I was training with enthusiasm, preparing the approach to Giro d’Italia,” he said in a team statement on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, I had to face this terrible accident that prevented me from being at the start of the Pink Race [Giro d’Italia] and forced me into a period of inactivity.
“The crash in April was of course very difficult and scary, but I am grateful that it was not more severe: it could have easily been career or life-threatening.
“It was hard for me to stop and to give up participation in a top race in which I was training really hard for with passion and enthusiasm: the will to recover and to get back on the bike again gave me the power to make my come back to racing.”
Horner spent time in the US and then returned to Italy at the end of May. He has continued his build-up there and the Lampre-Merida rider is ready to test his form.
The Tour of Slovenia will then determine what happens next and if he will compete alongside world champion Rui Costa and the rest of the team selection in the Tour.
“The Tour de Slovenia is obviously an important appointment for me because I’ll be able to get some interesting feedback on my condition,” he said.
“At the end of the race, I’ll evaluate with the team management and the technical staff about the possible participation in Tour de France.”
Horner is 42 years of age and took the best result of his career last September when he won the Vuelta a España. He also took two stages plus the combination classification in the race.