American Chris Horner will make his return to racing later this month at the Tour of Slovenia, and may even start the Tour de France, depending on his condition, his Lampre-Merida team announced today in a press release.
Horner, 42, was struck by a car on April 11 while training near Lake Como, Italy, and suffered four broken ribs and a punctured lung, though it could have been much worse.
“About three cars passed him and the final one clipped him and left him,” Lampre team manager Brent Copeland told VeloNews after the crash. “He had to get up and get out of the tunnel because he was in a dangerous place, and his telephone had no reception for him to call for safety.”
The crash derailed the 2013 Vuelta a España champion’s Giro campaign and cast the rest of his season in doubt. It had been a rough start with his new team; after landing a late contract with Lampre and before the crash, he suffered from tendinitis and illness and abandoned Tirreno-Adriatico and the Volta a Catalunya.
“In April I was training with enthusiasm, preparing for the Giro d’Italia. Unfortunately, I had to face this accident that prevented me from being at the start of the [Giro] and forced me into a period of inactivity. ,” Horner said in a team release issued Wednesday. “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. The will to recover and to get back on the bike again gave me the power to make my comeback to racing. I have I trained well in the recent few weeks, after which I recovered completely from the punctured lung.”
It’s been more than two months since Horner last raced, and the coming race in Slovenia, from June 19-22, will indicate what can be expected, at least in the near term.
“Tour of Slovenia is obviously an important race for me because I’ll be able to get some interesting feedback on my condition. At the end of the race, I’ll evaluate with the team management about possible participation in the Tour de France,” he said.
The Tour de France begins July 5, in Yorkshire, where Rui Costa will lead the Lampre squad.