Chris Horner

Christopher Lee "Chris" Horner (born October 23, 1971) is an American professional road racing cyclist,[3] who last rode for UCI Continental team Team Illuminate.

Chris Horner
Christopher Horner CA 2011.jpg
Personal information
Full nameChristopher Lee Horner
NicknameThe Hornet, The Second Best Climber in the World[1]
Born (1971-10-23) October 23, 1971 (age 48)
Okinawa, Japan
Height1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)[2]
Weight70 kg (154 lb; 11 st 0 lb)[2]
Team information
Rider typeAll-rounder
Amateur teams
1993Lite Beer
1994–1996Nutra Fig
Professional teams
1997–1999Française des Jeux
2002Prime Alliance
2004Webcor Builders
2005Saunier Duval–Prodir
2010–2011Team RadioShack
2016Lupus Racing Team
2018–2019Team Illuminate
Major wins
Grand Tours
Vuelta a España
General classification (2013)
Combination classification (2013)
2 individual stages (2013)

Stage races

Tour de Langkawi (2000)
Tour de Georgia (2003)
Tour of the Basque Country (2010)
Tour of California (2011)

A current resident of Bend, Oregon,[4] Horner dominated the American road racing scene by winning the points standings in the 2002, 2003 and 2004 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar.[5] He won the Vuelta a España in 2013, becoming the oldest winner of any of cycling's grand tours in the process.[6]

Racing careerEdit

PAA–NutraFig (1995–96)Edit

Horner turned professional in 1995 with the PAA–NutraFig team.[7] He captured his first major victory in a stage win of the Tour DuPont in 1996.

Française des Jeux (1997–99)Edit

He was then asked to ride in Europe with French team Française des Jeux. From 1997 to 1999 he had three frustrating seasons with this team.

Mercury, Prime Alliance, Saturn, and Webcor (2000–2004)Edit

In 2000 Horner returned to America to resume a record-setting domestic career, riding with Mercury in 2000, Prime Alliance in 2002, Saturn in 2003 and Webcor Builders in 2004. Horner has won almost every important race in the US racing calendar, with the notable exception of the USPRO National Championships.

Saunier Duval (2004–05)Edit

Horner decided to move to Saunier Duval–Prodir after his top-ten finish in the 2004 UCI Road World Championships because he wanted to give the Tour de France a try. After being injured in the beginning of 2005, Horner showed strong performance in the USPRO Championships and won his first major European victory by taking the sixth stage of the 2005 Tour de Suisse. He then earned his place on the 2005 Tour de France team and nearly won the Miramas to Montpellier stage when he and Sylvain Chavanel refused to cooperate in the final kilometers and were caught by the peloton.

Davitamon and Predictor (2006–07)Edit

He made a move to the Belgian UCI ProTour squad Davitamon–Lotto for the 2006 season.

For 2007 Horner signed with Ed Krall Racing for the cyclo-cross season.

Astana (2008–09)Edit

In 2008 Horner moved to Astana. Horner earned the nickname "The Smiler" for his unflappable expression of happiness, even during the most excruciating physical challenges, and "The Yahoo Kid" for his wild exclamations after winning a race. Teammates Levi Leipheimer and Lance Armstrong call him "The Redneck".

In the 2008 Cascade Cycling Classic Horner carried amateur cyclist and Nordic combined skier Bill Demong (who was from another team) with his broken bicycle to the finish line.[8][9]

RadioShack (2010–11)Edit

Horner won the fourth stage of the 2011 Tour of California, before taking overall victory.


On October 4, 2009 it was confirmed that Horner would compete for Team RadioShack in the next two seasons.[10] In one of his strongest European campaigns, Horner garnered first overall at the Tour of the Basque Country, including a stage win in the critical 6th stage individual time trial, defeating overall threat Alejandro Valverde. Horner also achieved several top 10 placings in the Spring classics of La Flèche Wallonne, Liège–Bastogne–Liège and the Amstel Gold Race. He and his RadioShack teammates did well at the Tour of California, with Horner putting on a particularly strong performance in the last stage of the race as a member of a final breakaway at Thousand Oaks. Horner finished fourth overall, 64 seconds behind winner Michael Rogers, and just 39 seconds behind teammate Levi Leipheimer in overall time. His good form also resulted in a 9th place overall at the Tour de France, as the first-placed American rider, in spite of dedicating himself in the first stages to supporting his captain Lance Armstrong.


In 2011 Horner continued his success at the Tour of the Basque Country with a second-place finish,[11] as well as 4th at the Volta a Catalunya. Horner then accomplished another high-profile result by winning May's Tour of California stage race. He scored a major solo victory on the 4th stage, after making significant time gains on the day's final mountain finish in San Jose.[12] He maintained his hold on the yellow jersey until the tour's queen stage, where he completed a two-man breakaway finish with teammate Levi Leipheimer to finalize the overall lead, and at age 39 became the oldest rider in history to win that tour.[13][14] His participation at the Tour de France was short lived after a crash left him out of the competition.

RadioShack–Nissan (2012–2013)Edit


In 2012, Horner signed with RadioShack–Nissan. He started the Tirreno–Adriatico as his first race since July where he finished second after losing his lead in the final time trial to Vincenzo Nibali.[15] He then finished 8th in the Tour of California, failing to defend his title. He then rode the Tour de France where he ended up finishing 13th overall after putting a good performance in the mountains.


I've been a professional for almost 20 years so this represents a lifetime of hard work. A Grand Tour is always a goal for a cyclist to show how good a rider you are. The memories will last forever and the riders I came with were amazing and my team has been fantastic.

Chris Horner, after winning the 2013 Vuelta a España, The Daily Telegraph[16]

After suffering an injury in the beginning of 2013, Horner returned to action after winning stage 5 in the Tour of Utah and finishing 2nd overall. Less than three weeks later, in stage 3 of the Vuelta a España, Horner attacked over the last kilometer to win the stage and take the overall lead in the race. By doing this, he became the oldest rider in history (41 years and 307 days) to win a stage and wear the leader's jersey in a Grand Tour.[17] He won again on stage 10, another uphill finish, reclaiming the lead.[18] and setting a new record of the oldest rider (41 years and 314 days) to win a stage in a Grand Tour. Horner's success at that race continued and he won the race overall on September 15, 2013, the oldest ever Grand Tour winner.[19][20]

He left RadioShack–Leopard at the end of the season, as his contract expired. He felt he was worth more than the team were willing to offer for a rider of his resume and ability.

Lampre–Merida (2014)Edit

Horner joined Lampre–Merida for the 2014 season.[21] In April, while training in Italy for the Giro d'Italia, he was hit by a car driver who subsequently fled the scene. Horner suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs in the accident, jeopardizing his participation[22] at the Giro d'Italia. He elected not to compete in the Giro d'Italia; on June 30, 2014, Horner was named in Lampre's Tour de France squad, with Rui Costa as team leader.[23]

He placed second in the mountainous Tour of Utah[24] which he raced in preparation for the Vuelta a España. However, Horner withdrew from the Vuelta ahead of the first stage due to his cortisol levels dropping below the threshold considered healthy by the Mouvement pour un cyclisme crédible, of which Lampre–Merida is a member. The announcement followed Horner's usage of cortisone on prescription under a therapeutic use exemption to treat a case of bronchitis.[25]

Lampre–Merida opted not to extend Horner's contract, and in December 2014 he announced he had signed a deal with UCI Continental team Airgas–Safeway for 2015.[26]

Team Illuminate (2018–2019)Edit

In June 2018, Horner returned to racing for the United States National Road Race Championships, riding for Team Illuminate. He said that overcoming a bronchial infection that had plagued the tailend of his career had convinced him to come out of retirement.[27] However, he eventually did not finish the road race.[28]

Broadcasting careerEdit

In 2019, Horner joined the team of broadcaster NBC for their coverage of the Tour de France, acting as a commentator.[29]

Major resultsEdit

1st Lancaster Classic
1st Stage 1 Tour DuPont
2nd Overall Redlands Bicycle Classic
3rd Road race, National Road Championships
3rd Overall Fitchburg Longsjo Classic
3rd GP Ouest–France
3rd Nevada City Classic
9th Grand Prix des Nations
9th Overall Circuit des Mines
1st   Overall Tour de Langkawi
1st   Overall Redlands Bicycle Classic
8th Overall Critérium International
8th Route Adélie de Vitré
2nd Overall Cascade Cycling Classic
1st Stage 3
5th Overall Redlands Bicycle Classic
1st Stage 5
1st USA Cycling National Racing Calendar
1st   Overall Redlands Bicycle Classic
1st Stages 1 & 2
1st   Overall Sea Otter Classic
1st Stage 3
1st   Overall Nature Valley Grand Prix
1st Stage 3
1st   Overall Fitchburg Longsjo Classic
2nd Time trial, National Road Championships
3rd Overall Cascade Cycling Classic
1st USA Cycling National Racing Calendar
1st   Overall Tour de Georgia
1st   Mountains classification
1st   Overall Redlands Bicycle Classic
1st San Francisco Grand Prix
1st Stage 4 Cascade Cycling Classic
2nd Overall Fitchburg Longsjo Classic
1st Stages 2 & 3
9th Lancaster Classic
1st USA Cycling National Racing Calendar
1st   Overall Sea Otter Classic
1st Stage 2
1st   Overall Redlands Bicycle Classic
1st Stages 1a, 1b & 2
1st   Overall International Tour de Toona
3rd Overall Tour de Georgia
8th Road race, UCI Road World Championships
3rd Road race, National Road Championships
5th Overall Tour de Suisse
1st Stage 6
6th Lancaster Classic
7th Overall Tour de Romandie
1st Stage 2
8th Liège–Bastogne–Liège
10th Overall Paris–Nice
3rd Giro dell'Emilia
5th Overall Tour de Romandie
5th Coppa Sabatini
10th Giro di Lombardia
7th Overall Tour of California
7th Giro di Lombardia
2nd Overall Tour de l'Ain
1st   Points classification
1st   Overall Tour of the Basque Country
1st Stage 6 (ITT)
2nd Overall Giro di Sardegna
4th Road race, National Road Championships
4th Overall Tour of California
7th Overall Critérium International
7th La Flèche Wallonne
7th Liège–Bastogne–Liège
9th Overall Critérium du Dauphiné
9th Overall Tour de France
10th Amstel Gold Race
1st   Overall Tour of California
1st Stage 4
2nd Overall Tour of the Basque Country
4th Overall Volta a Catalunya
2nd Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
7th Overall Tour of Utah
8th Overall Tour of California
9th Overall Tour of the Basque Country
1st   Overall Vuelta a España
1st   Combination classification
1st Stages 3 & 10
2nd Overall Tour of Utah
1st Stage 5
6th Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
2nd Overall Tour of Utah
8th Overall Volta ao Algarve
4th Overall Tour d'Azerbaïdjan
5th Road race, National Road Championships
5th Overall Tour of Utah
7th Overall Redlands Bicycle Classic
9th Overall Tour of the Gila
9th Overall Tour of the Gila

General classification results timelineEdit

Grand Tour general classification results timeline
Grand Tour 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
  Giro d'Italia DNF
  Tour de France 33 61 14 9 DNF 13 17
 /  Vuelta a España 20 36 DNF 1
Major stage race general classification results timeline
Race 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
 /  Paris–Nice 65 10 24 49
 /  Tirreno–Adriatico DNF 2 6 DNF
  Volta a Catalunya 58 3 DNF DNF
  Tour of the Basque Country 31 DNF 41 DNF 1 2 9
 /  Tour de Romandie 43 93 7 5
  Critérium du Dauphiné 34 DNF 9
  Tour de Suisse DNF DNF 5 42


  1. ^ Clarke, Stuart (November 5, 2015). "13 of the strangest nicknames in cycling". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Christopher Horner profile". Archived from the original on December 27, 2013. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  3. ^ "Horner wants to keep racing, says agent". Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  4. ^ USA Cycling biography Archived July 18, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Tooting his own Horner – Part I". Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  6. ^ "BBC Sport - Vuelta a Espana: Chris Horner, 41, is oldest Grand Tour winner". September 15, 2013. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  7. ^ Chris Horner Archived December 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Chris Horner Gives Fallen Rider (and bike) a 2k Ride to the Finish". Archived from the original on December 2, 2009. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  9. ^ Swift, Heidi (August 16, 2008). "Chris Horner proves why he's the people's pro". The Oregonian. Retrieved August 17, 2008. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  10. ^ "Horner signs on with RadioShack for two years",, 2009-09-04. Retrieved on 2009-10-02.
  11. ^ Hood, Andrew (April 9, 2011). "Andreas Klöden takes overall title at Tour of the Basque Country as Tony Martin wins final TT". VeloNews. Competitor Group. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  12. ^ "Horner takes control of Tour of California with brilliant Sierra Road climb". VeloNews. Competitor Group. May 18, 2011. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  13. ^ Kirsten Frattini (May 23, 2011). "Horner 100 Per Cent Focused On Tour De France After California Victory".
  14. ^ "Horner, 39, oldest to win Tour of California". The San Francisco Chronicle. May 23, 2011.
  15. ^ "Nibali conquista la Tirreno: E adesso marcia su Sanremo" [Nibali won the Tirreno: And now march on Sanremo]. Tirreno–Adriatico (in Italian). RCS MediaGroup. March 13, 2012. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  16. ^ "RadioShack-Leopard's Chris Horner, 41, becomes oldest ever grand tour winner". Daily Telegraph. September 15, 2013. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  17. ^ Alasdair Fotheringham (August 26, 2013). "Horner makes history with stage win, lead in Vuelta a España". Future plc. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  18. ^ Andrew Hood (September 2, 2013). "Horner retakes lead, electrifies Vuelta". VeloNews. Competitor Group, Inc. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
  19. ^ "Vuelta a Espana: Chris Horner, 41, is oldest Grand Tour winner". BBC Sport. September 15, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
  20. ^ "Chris Horner wins 2013 Vuelta a Espana". Cycling News. September 15, 2013. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  21. ^ Farrand, Stephen (January 30, 2014). "Horner signs with Lampre-Merida". Future plc. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
  22. ^ Brown, Gregor (April 13, 2014). "Lampre reveals more details of Horner accident, Tour comeback possible". Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  23. ^ "Chris Horner named in Lampre-Merida's Tour de France team". Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  24. ^ "GENERAL CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS". Tour of Utah. Tour of Utah 2014. Archived from the original on September 14, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  25. ^ Fotheringham, William (August 22, 2014). "Chris Horner withdraws from Vuelta a España due to low cortisol levels". Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  26. ^ "Chris Horner signs with Airgas-Safeway". VeloNews. Competitor Group, Inc. December 1, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  27. ^ Malach, Pat (June 23, 2018). "Horner returns to racing at US Pro Championships". Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  28. ^ Malach, Pat (June 24, 2018). "Jonny Brown wins US Pro Road Championships in Knoxville". Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  29. ^ Malach, Pat (June 22, 2019). "Chris Horner joins NBC's Tour de France broadcast team". Retrieved June 28, 2019.

External linksEdit