American Chris Horner has signed with Lampre-Merida. There have been rumors for a few days that the new manager of the 42-year-old reigning Vuelta winner, Baden Cooke, is working on a contract with those responsible for the Italian World Tour team. [Link] This has now taken place, as the team announced via Twitter.
According to the team, Horner should focus primarily on the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta, while the Portuguese world champion Rui Costa focuses on the Tour de France. After his Vuelta victory, the American turned down an offer from RadioShack Leopard's successor, Trek Factory Racing. Further negotiations with other teams failed because of his salary demands and his planned racing calendar, in which defending the title at the Vuelta plays an important role.
Horner may make his debut in the Lampre-Merida team at the Trofeo Mallorca before being officially presented at the team presentation in mid-February.