Road

Retire? Not Chris Horner, who’s eager for new challenges at age 40

Chris Horner says that retirement is not on the horizon as he prepares for the 2012 season with RadioShack-Nissan-Trek.

2011 Tour of California, stage 4: Chris Horner on Sierra Road.
Chris Horner rides away with his ever-present smile during stage 4 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Chris Horner says that retirement is not on the horizon as he prepares for the 2012 season with RadioShack-Nissan-Trek.

Horner, who turned 40 last month, says that he just keeps getting better with age.

“I just love riding. And I have a strong desire to keep riding. I’m not ready to retire,” Horner said in an interview posted on Johan Bruyneel’s website. “But with the older age comes a great deal of experience. I know the training I need to do and what races I need to go to. I’ve pretty much eliminated the guesswork.”

Horner made it through a rough-and-tumble 2011 season, highlighted by victory at the Amgen Tour of California, second at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and fourth at the Volta a Catalunya, but one that also was marked by a horrible crash at the Tour de France.

Horner has fully recovered from his Tour spill, which left him with a concussion but no other serious injuries, and is already looking ahead to new challenges next season with the arrival of 12 new riders from Leopard-Trek.

“California and the Tour are the two biggest, but there are more goals,” Horner said. “The races I pick throughout the season — it’s important for me to win somewhere. If I do Paris-Nice, Catalunya, Basque, Cali’, Suisse and the Tour, I’ll be happy if wins from any of those races. They’re all great and important.”

Horner met his new teammates and staff at the squad’s first meeting in Belgium. The team will reunite in December in what will be the first serious work ahead of the new year.

Horner remains popular with the fans, who awarded him the Fan Choice Award in a reader’s poll. Horner’s victory at the Tour of California won 53 percent of the voting among RadioShack’s highlights during the 2011 season.