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by Shane Stokes
November 5, 2014
Having held off on making a firm decision until now, the Lampre-Merida team has indicated that Chris Horner will no longer be part of the setup in 2015. The Italian WorldTour squad issued a statement Tuesday saying that the rider and the team will head in different directions at the end of the season.
The American secured his contract with the team after winning the 2013 Vuelta a España, but has hampered by a training accident early this season, then by illness during the Tour de France.
He was prevented from starting the Vuelta a Espana after tests carried out by the MPCC anti-doping movement indicated that his cortisol levels were too low. This is often indicative of cortisone use.
Horner said that he had been prescribed a treatment containing the substance in order to help him get over the chest infection he suffered during the Tour. He said that this was covered by a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).
However, as Lampre-Merida is a member of the MPCC, it had to accept the organisation’s rules relating to abnormal cortisol levels.
The net result is that the rider amassed few big results during his time with the team.
“In 2014 Horner had to face many unfortunate incidents, the most unfortunate being the terrible crash during training before the Giro d’Italia,” stated the team. “For Lampre-Merida seeing Chris coming back to races and taking part in Tour de France after this serious injury was a huge success. However even after his hard work and due to these situations Chris was not fortunate enough to demonstrate his true potential.
“Lampre-Merida would like to show their appreciation to Horner for his proactive attitude, his passion for cycling, sacrifices and efforts he made for the team during the 2014 season. Chris has been a true professional in all senses, especially with his experience which the young riders exploited.”
It ended the statement by wishing him well for the future, and saying that it would have liked a longer relationship to have occurred had they started working together earlier in his career.
CyclingTips understands that Horner has been speaking to other teams, and so a contract for 2015 is still possible.