Chris Horner had to say Bon Voyage to Armstrong and Leipheimer during their last group training session in Colorado last weekend after getting the call from Johan Bruyneel explaining why he wasn’t selected for Astana’s Tour de France team.
“Politics seemed to once again be what was holding me back from doing what I love, racing at the top of my sport. Johan gave me many reasons why he couldn’t take me, and all of them made sense to me from a political standpoint, but absolutely no sense from a straight up who deserves to go standpoint.”
In his blog on OregonLive.com, Horner explained that there were really only two spots open to “lobbying” amongst the team members, and at the last moment, someone else got them. Ã‚Â Here’s how it went down in Chris’ words:
One spot would go to a Kazakh, for the sponsors. Dmitriy Muravyev got it.
Four would go to our top GC riders — Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Andreas Kloden — all of whom have finished on the podium at the Tour.
Two went to Haimar Zubeldia and Yaroslav Popovych, who were selected early as support riders.
The eighth spot went to Gregory Rast, a big guy who could help tackle the flats.
That left one final spot — the spot I had believed to be mine.
But instead, Alberto, whom the team was being built around, wanted to take one of his “boys” with him as a support rider. So Sergio Paulinho was in and I was suddenly the odd man out.
Most recently, Horner had been performing well at the Giro d’Italia before exiting the race earlier with a fractured tibia. Read Horner’s full blog entryÃ‚Â on the matter here, and read our previous interview with him here.