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Must Reads: Horner’s Basque buddy; Athlete ‘ashamed’ to be Spanish

Must Reads: Horner’s Basque buddy; Athlete ‘ashamed’ to be Spanish; more

GARA: Horner’s Basque buddy

In a nice story about Chris Horner’s ties to Spain’s Basque Country, the Basque daily GARA outlines the relationship between Horner and ex-pro Imanol Aiestaran. The pair met in the early 2000s and Aiestararn later went to Horner’s home in Oregon for a visit after joining Saturn: “When I went to his house, he was painting his porch just before the start of the race. On the second or third stage, we went to his house and we had a barbecue with hamburgers. Accustomed to living cycling here (in Europe), where everything is very serious, I was shocked to see them taking it in such a relaxed manner,” Aiestaran said. Last year, Horner dedicated his Tour of the Basque Country victory to Aiestaran, who helped Horner return to Europe with Saunier Duval in 2004. Horner remembers seeing the distinctive “txapela” of the Basque Country winner: “The first time I raced here, I saw Jalabert on the podium with a ‘txapela,’ and I said to myself, I want one of those,” Horner said. “Now I have two, one of the overall and one for the stage win (last year).”

USA Today: Spanish runner ‘ashamed’ of Spain’s doping image

Spanish distance runner Sergio Sánchez is “ashamed” to wear his country’s colors in international competitions because of recent doping scandals, The Associated Press reported. Sánchez, who won the silver medal in the 3,000 meters at last year’s world indoor championships, reportedly said Friday the country’s image had been damaged due to cases like “Operation Galgo,” a doping investigation into Spanish athletics that led to 14 people being detained. “I’m ashamed to wear the Spanish jersey. Competing in an event with a Spanish shirt harms my image — I’m even thinking about not competing in the worlds,” he was quoted as saying on Radio Cantabria.

New York Times: 36 hours in Louisville, Kentucky

Those contemplating a trip to Kentucky for the 2013 cyclocross world championships (or perhaps for this year’s USGP race or perhaps the masters world championships in 2012) can get a flavor for the city from the latest edition of The Times’ regular ’36 Hours In …’ series. “The last decade has seen a cultural and civic blooming, with new galleries, restaurants and performance spaces taking their place alongside the city’s already robust roster of seductions,” the Gray Lady reports. The seductions include a tour (or crawl?) of Whiskey Row, a visit to Churchill Downs and the Muhammad Ali Center.