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Chris Horner joins NBC Sports Tour de France team

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Chris Horner, the only American Grand Tour champion of the last 29 years, will make his Tour de France commentary debut with NBC Sports next month.

Horner, who became the oldest Grand Tour winner at the 2013 Vuelta a España at age 41, will be part of NBC Sports’ traveling studio coverage of the Tour de France, hosted by Paul Burmeister, with retired American cyclist Christian Vande Velde reprising his role.

Bob Roll will move from the studio to call the action with Phil Liggett for the Tour that starts July 6. Liggett’s longtime partner, Paul Sherwen, died Dec. 2 at age 62 after being involved in 40 Tours de France.

Horner made his NBC Sports commentary debut for Liège-Bastogne-Liège on April 28.

“Completely different than anything I’m used to,” he said. “I really just learned that it’s harder than it looks on TV. On TV, [viewers] just can’t understand how you miss that call or that play, but when you’re [a commentator] watching it on the screen and picking up some facts on the computer, looking down, looking up, it makes it kind of difficult to catch all of the action.”

Horner, a 2012 Olympian, competed in seven Tours with a best finish of ninth in 2010. His Grand Tour career ended at the 2014 Tour, but he still rides, having done the Cascade Classic in his native Oregon three weeks ago.

“I still carry a pro license, but I don’t really consider myself a pro by any means,” Horner said. “It’s no longer my job or my career or anything like that. I just love racing my bike. It’s an easier transition to keep racing a little bit and transition into the non-bike racing world.”

Watch world-class cycling events throughout the year with the NBC Sports Gold Cycling Pass, including all 21 stages of the Tour de France live & commercial-free, plus access to renowned races like La Vuelta, Paris-Roubaix, the UCI World Championships and many more.

MORE: NBC Sports launches Cycling Pass for 2019-20 season

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Tom Dumoulin, 2018 Tour de France runner-up, to miss this year’s race

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Tom Dumoulin, the 2018 Tour de France runner-up, will miss next month’s stage race following setbacks in recovering from a knee injury.

The Dutchman underwent minor knee surgery on Sunday after crashing out of the Giro d’Italia in May and withdrawing during the Critérium du Dauphiné on Saturday.

“The last month has been extremely difficult overall, and with the setbacks in the knee recovery,” Dumoulin said in a statement through Team Sunweb. “After what happened at the Giro I really wanted to go for it in the Tour, but this week I realized it’s just not realistic for my level to be there in time. I’ve tried so hard to get there, but I really have to listen to my body and release myself from chasing an unrealistic goal.”

Dumoulin is the second 2018 Tour podium finisher to withdraw ahead of the July 6 start. Chris Froome, the four-time Tour de France champ who was third last year, is out after a high-speed crash at the Criterium du Dauphine on June 12.

Froome’s teammate, Geraint Thomas, is favored to repeat as Tour champion.

Watch world-class cycling events throughout the year with the NBC Sports Gold Cycling Pass, including all 21 stages of the Tour de France live & commercial-free, plus access to renowned races like La Vuelta, Paris-Roubaix, the UCI World Championships and many more.

MORE: NBC Sports launches Cycling Pass for 2019-20 season

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Geraint Thomas crashes out of Tour de France prep race

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BASEL, Switzerland (AP) — Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas crashed in a cycling race, days after teammate Chris Froome was involved in a season-ending accident in France.

Team INEOS said Thomas should be fine to start the Tour de France on July 6 despite having to drop out of the fourth stage of the nine-day Tour de Suisse race in Switzerland.

“Clearly it’s frustrating and a small setback for my Tour de France preparations, but there’s still plenty of time before we start in Brussels in a few weeks’ time,” Thomas said, according to the team.

The team says on Twitter that Thomas “was alert and speaking to the team after the crash and will be taken to hospital for checks.”

Thomas had a ripped jersey and cuts on his back and shoulder after hitting the road with about 18 miles left in the stage. He was in eighth place, 28 seconds behind race leader Peter Sagan.

Thomas won the 2018 Tour after Froome won four times between 2013 and 2017.

Watch world-class cycling events throughout the year with the NBC Sports Gold Cycling Pass, including all 21 stages of the Tour de France live & commercial-free, plus access to renowned races like La Vuelta, Paris-Roubaix, the UCI World Championships and many more.

MORE: NBC Sports launches Cycling Pass for 2019-20 season

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!