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“We don’t know what the situation is at the moment and nothing is confirmed,” Brent Copeland said. “It’s fifty-fifty at the moment on whether he stays.”

Photo: Sirotti

CHRISTOPHER HORNER

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UAE ABU DHABI

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01.10.2014 @ 14:09 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Despite having his 2014 season hampered by injuries, crashes and illness, in his last interview Chris Horner shared hope that he would be offered a contract extension by Lampre-Merida team, after they eventually set their budget for the next year. Italian team manager Brent Copeland revealed, though, that they are still negotiating with the 42-year old American but his chances for staying in the outfit are not like 50-50.

 

“We don’t know what the situation is at the moment and nothing is confirmed,” Copeland told Cyclingnews. “It’s fifty-fifty at the moment on whether he stays.”

 

“It’s not a yes or a no. We’re still talking to the sponsors and looking for an answer from them. There’s been no offer of a contract yet. We’ve talked to his agent and Chris wants to carry on. It comes down to budget to a certain extent and that’s what we’ve been sorting out with the sponsors.”

 

Two weeks ago Horner was certain about his chances to stay in the Italian team for the second consecutive year, insisting that Lampre-Merida wait to have their budget set for the upcoming season before offering their riders new contracts.

 

Meanwhile, it became clear that Copeland plans to transform team roster to better support needs of their Tour de France leader Rui Costa and the agent of the 42-year old American, Baden Cooke, revealed that they’re staying in touch with several other World Tour squads.

 

While Copeland still waits to have budget issues solved before deciding on Horner’s future in the outfit, he insisted that it won’t be depended on the UCI verdict in Diego Ulissi’s case. He also suggested that former Giro d’Italia champion Damiano Cunego most likely will leave Lampre-Merida.

 

“Chris could be a leader or a GC rider for us in the Giro or the Vuelta but we don’t know the situation with Ulissi who wants to try for GC in the future. However it’s not a case of, if Ulissi stays Chris can’t.”

 

“Two weeks have gone by in the Ulissi case. We don’t expect him to be cleared completely but it shouldn’t be a long ban.”

 

“However, after the signing of Rui, the roster will stay more or less the same. There will be a few riders that we’ll decide on in the coming weeks and replacements will be announced in the usual press release way. We only need to deposit ten contracts with the UCI this week and we have thirteen who have two-year deals.”

 

“Cunego probably will not stay, but Pozzato will as he has a contract for next year. With Cunego I’d say it’s 70-30 that he will go. His agents have said that he’s got quite far with a few teams but haven’t said who but, a change may be good for him.”

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