American who last year became oldest Grand Tour winner finally ends his search for a new team

Chris Horner, who last September became the oldest winner of any of cycling’s three Grand Tours when he won the Vuelta at the age of 41, has signed for Lampre-Merida.

The American, now aged 42, had been struggling to find a team for 2014 with outfits such as Trek Factory Racing, which took over the licence from his former employers, RadioShack-Leopard, said to have been deterred by his reported €1 million salary demands.

Lampre-Merida, which previously recruited world champion Rui Costa from Movistar, announced Horner’s arrival on Twitter this morning.

The deal was brokered by his former team-mate, the retired sprinter Baden Cooke, whom Horner appointed as his agent earlier this month, replacing Michael Rutherford.

Horner saw off the challenge of Giro d’Italia champion Vincenzo Nibali to win last year’s Vuelta, but was dogged by accusations of doping, not helped when a mix-up over an address led to him missing an anti-doping control the day after the race finished.

Previously, he rode alongside Lance Armstrong at Astana and RadioShack, teams both managed by Johan Bruyneel, although he says he never saw any evidence of doping there, despite the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) stating that it did take place.

Last November, he also denied that he was one of the riders linked to doping whose names were redacted in USADA’s Reasoned Decision into banning Armstrong for life and stripping him of the seven Tour de France titles he won between 1998 and 2005.

Horner is expected to begin his 2014 campaign at next week’s Trofeo Mallorca.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.