Americans in Spain

News & Results

09/17/2013| 1 comment
by Neil Browne
To say Chris Horner’s Vuelta a Espana victory was unexpected is the understatement of the year Unipublic

Americans in Spain

Chris Horner wins the Vuelta amid the drama. There was another American too.

receive reduced suspensions, but it cost Zirbel a contract with Slipstream. I’m suggesting that mistakes are going to be made on both sides – from the athlete to the testers. Let’s use common sense and make rational judgments rather than knee jerk reactions. Suing USADA isn’t going to help the situation and will in fact drag it all back up again.

Horner has returned to the United States and of this writing, without a contract from his team for next year. I’m sure those details are being hammered out now and Chris is making sure there are enough zeros on the end of his paycheck.

I want to close out my thoughts on Horner – I don’t know if Horner doped or didn’t. If he didn’t it is a well-deserved victory earned with a combination of strength and tactics. If he did, then shame on him for destroying that rare opportunity to make an impact on the sport in the U.S. At this point I am willing to say he won it clean until I see evidence to the contrary. If I look at every result with a raised eyebrow there’s no point in bothering anymore. That said, I’m not going to be naïve either. Yeah, it’s a bit of a dance and I hope I’m not letting skepticism take the lead.

The Other American at the Vuelta
While Horner is assured a contract somewhere with someone on a WorldTour team another American so far isn’t so lucky. Sprinter Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) hasn’t had the strongest of seasons. Sure, he had four top-3 stage placings (which included a win – stage 4) at the Amgen Tour of California in addition to a smattering of podium appearances in such races as the Tour de Suisse, Denmark, and the Vuelta. But other than in California, a big win this year eluded him. It’s tough being a sprinter, there are so many quality riders. You have Mark Cavendish who can win out of a huge field sprint. Peter Sagan can also win from the bunch, but also break away, and solo on courses that are designed for a sprinter. Then you have Marcel Kittel who came into his own at the Tour de France. And of course there’s Andre Greipel. It isn’t easy trying to earn the green.

Taking the long view of Farrar’s career it has been a successful one. He’s had victories in all three grand tours, along with a few stage wins in smaller European stage races and semi-classics. However, as we all know, professional sport is all about what have you done for me lately. Farrar might have to take a step back before he can go forward in his career and that may mean rebooting on a domestic squad to get his sprinting mojo back.

Like Horner, I hope for the best for Farrar and maybe he can pull out a good result in one of the few remaining classics on the calendar. My fingers are crossed for him.

While you wait for Chris Horner and Tyler Farrar to sign

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Neil, I hope you have had a final thought on Chris and doping, and the whole topic of doping, you know a wound never heals if you keep picking at the scab.

As for Tyler, to me, he never looks like he is in the kind of shape necessary to win the big sprints (I don't categorize the Tour of California as a big race because its missing most of the top sprinters). Tyler's results are matching his efforts in preparation.