This year’s Tour field boasts a deep wealth of Yankee talent, including a top sprinter, a quartet of potential top-5 finishers, one of

Chris Horner (RadioShack)

Emphatic winner of May’s Tour of California, the seemingly ageless Horner is primed for his second straight run at a top-10 Tour finish. And if you believe Horner, the final podium is a possibility, too.

2011 Tour of California, stage 4: Chris Horner on Sierra Road.
Horner on his way to taking the California lead on stage 4's Sierra Road climb. Photo: Casey B. Gibson |

Those are big words for a 39-year-old rider who’s not even the pre-race leader of his team (RadioShack comes in with four potential leaders). But Horner has a knack for backing up big talk. Just witness his pre-California declaration, when he boldly predicted that Team RadioShack would go one-two. They did.

Since winning that race ahead of teammate Levi Leipheimer, Horner has bunkered down at his San Diego training base, forgoing the traditional pre-Tour warm-up races in favor of focused training and maintaining his newly adopted strict diet. By laying off burgers, fries and Cokes, Horner’s kept his weight below 140 pounds. That improved power-to-weight ratio could pay big dividends in this year’s Tour with its four mountaintop finishes.

If Horner can snag the team leadership nod early in the race, look for him to be a player in the wide-open race for the third place on the final podium.