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American Christopher Horner joins Lampre-Merida

AP - Sports

MILAN (AP) -- Spanish Vuelta champion Christopher Horner has become the first American to sign for Italian cycling team Lampre-Merida.

The team says Friday that Horner has joined its roster for the 2014 season.

Team Manager Brent Copeland says ''Horner is a great rider technically, an excellent climber and one of the most intelligent riders in the group. He will strengthen our ambitions for the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta.''

The 42-year-old Horner, who is the oldest winner of a Grand Tour, will likely make his debut in Lampre colors in next month's Challenge Mallorca.

Copeland adds ''he can also cycle alongside our youngsters to give them the benefit of his experience as they grow ... Horner is not young, but he can be really important for the squad.''

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