Chris Horner poised to take Vuelta win

Christopher Horner team of Radio Shack in the 18th stage of the 'Vuelta'.(Photo: JAVIER LIZON EPA)

Christopher Horner team of RadioShack-Leopard  in the 18th stage of the Vuelta. (Photo: JAVIER LIZON EPA)

     RadioShack-Leopard’s Chris Horner is in position to take his first Grand Tour victory after Friday’s 19th stage of the Vuelta a’ Espana (Tour of Spain).
The 41-year-old American Horner edged Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali at the finish of Friday’s stage to take a slim, three-second overall lead going into Saturday’s  penultimate stage on the mountainous Alto de L’Angrilu, a horrific route studded with 25% grade climbing sections.
The stage winner was Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha.
       As in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, Sunday’s final stage is mostly ceremonial with the overall leader going into the stage retaining that position.
Horner’s overall lead gives him yet another record as the oldest rider to lead a grand tour.  He is 41.
“Today was our last chance,” Rodriguez told VeloNews after the finish. “Tomorrow is such a hard stage and Horner is on such good form. The podium will be hard, but the Angrilu will put everyone in their places. The Angrilu never pardons.”
For the Angrilu stage, Horner is likely to get a powerful lead out from teammate Fabian Cancellara, whose big engine has been a factor in Horner’s success in this Vuelta.  Cancellara has already signed for next season with the Trek WorldTeam, which will take over RadioShack-Leopard’s racing license.  Horner does not have a contract for the 2014 season, but his exploits in the Vuelta should stir some interest despite his age.

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