Horner reconsiders early ambitions

After suffering yesterday over the Galibier, Chris Horner is now looking to the next rest day and is

After suffering yesterday over the Galibier, Chris Horner is now looking to the next rest day and is


In a sweltering and somewhat chaotic finish line in Digne-les-Bains, Chris Horner found himself trapped behind a long line of tired and hot riders. However, unlike a terse Floyd Landis, of Phonak, the 33-year-old Saunier Duval rider was positively chatty.

During the Tour's first week, Horner had told procycling that he was hopeful of a top 10 finish, but events over the past 48 hours seem to have forced a re-assessment of his ambitions.

"The stage to Briancon was just so difficult for me," he said. "That first move with so many climbers there - Vinokourov's one of the best climbers in the world, and because he had had a bad day at Courchevel everybody thought 'oh maybe he's not climbing so well' - but he's climbing well.

"You saw that yesterday," the American said. "You don't win a stage like that without climbing well."

But Vino's recovery spelt problems for Horner. "For me, that attack put me way, way in the hole and so today was about trying to recover for tomorrow. I want to get through to the next rest day and then try to have a strong last week and maybe see if I can't get a stage or something."

So what happened to those ambitions for a place in the top 10 in Paris?

"Well, I was hoping either for the top 10 or a stage," said Horner. "I lost the top 10 five kilometres from the top of the Galibier yesterday. That pretty much wrecked any hopes. So now, I have switched to a mode of recover, try to get the legs back as fresh as possible, and try to get a stage win somewhere."

Had he picked out a favoured stage on which to attack? "Right now, I'm thinking about getting to the rest day. We've got a flat stage tomorrow, but those stages aren't necessarily always easy! But I'm glad the heat's here - I like it. That will make things easier for me."

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