On the mend from a bronchial infection that plagued his last years of racing in Europe and the American domestic circuit, the 2013 Vuelta a España champion says his ability to train longer and harder, and the increased power levels that resulted, convinced him to throw his hat in the ring once more.
Horner will race under the Team Illuminate banner, the same program he raced with in 2015 when the team raced as Airgas-Safeway.
The breakthrough came for Horner when after more than a year of trying to diagnose the problem, doctor’s finally identified his ongoing lung issues as a byproduct of acid reflux that allowed fluids to flow into his lungs and cause infection.
“The doctor originally thought it was a PFO in the heart, which is where a lot of blood jumps from the right side to the left side and bypasses the lungs, so it’s not getting oxygenated,” Horne told Cyclingnews Saturday at the race hotel in Knoxville.
“So literally I’m on the trainer with the doctors there, and as soon as I hit 300 watts, the [blood oxygenation levels] would drop into the 80s, and as soon as I went over 300 it would drop down to the low 80s. The doctor said, ‘Oh yeah, you have a problem.’
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