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Stepping up - The Chris Horner diary
From being the USA's top domestic rider for several years to riding for a ProTour team in the Tour de France, Chris Horner is always on the up.
A talented all-rounder, Chris had a successful year Saunier Duval-Prodir in 2005, and is now riding for Davitamon-Lotto. As one of the team's key men in the Vuelta, Horner will be detailing his progress in this special diary for Cyclingnews during the race.
September 9: TT Time
Today's stage was the first individual TT, which meant that it was an important day for the top guys and an unofficial rest day for the rest. For me, it was a toss up. I decided that I was far enough down, that I was going to take it easy in the TT and get a little extra rest, in the hopes that things will work out in one of the late stages.
But, remember my last TT experience in the Tour, I wasn't too excited about the prospect of another TT. In that one TT, I managed to have about as much bad luck as is possible - but that went along with the theme of the Tour for me! In that one race, I slid down the start ramp when I was trying to get up to the start, got a flat at 2 km into the race, had my handbars come loose at the halfway point (and there were no tools in the car to tighten them back up), and I ended up riding in on my road bike with the full TT get-up (aero helmet, skinsuit, shoe covers, etc.) and looking like a tool, since I was riding a bike with absolutely no aero equipment - not even carbon wheels!
Anyway, that was all on my mind as I went into this TT, but I figured that it couldn't be any worse than that! Plus, as the team owner said during my bike change, at least I took all of the bad luck for the team so Cadel could have a good day!
Aside from one incident, today's stage went off without a hitch! I went in planning to go easy, but I got a little carried away once I got in, since I was feeling good, and ended up going about 90% effort. Not quite full out, but still harder than I probably should have gone!
The only scary moment came when I took a corner really really hard, and, coming out of it, I was heading straight into a guy who was walking on the bike lane part of the road. Since I was expecting to have the full road, I was using the entire width of the road to make the corner, and still in my aero bars. I was positive that we were both doomed! I thought I was going to peg the guy going 65 km/hr and send both of us over the guardrail and into the river that ran along the road. Talk about a crappy way to go out!
Luckily, I pulled it out just in time, brushing the guy's shoulder but missing the bulk of him and we both got to continue on our merry way! Granted, since the guy was walking the same direction as me and didn't see it coming until I was brushing against him, I'm guessing he needed to change his shorts after that one!
That was the extent of my day. Made it through another stage unscathed, which is the primary goal, and I'm feeling pretty good. I'm really looking forward to the final week of racing - it should be good stuff and I'm still hoping for the best! Thanks again for reading!