Blazin' Saddles

Will Chris Horner, the grand old granddad of Grand Tours, get to glow in yellow?

Chris Horner riding in the famous day-glo yellow. You can just picture it.

With time running out for the oldest Grand Tour winner in history to break his own record next season, Chris Horner's people have upped the ante in a bid to find their man a new team.

And if you believe the rumours, then cycling fans will be seeing a lot of Horner in yellow next year - and not merely in the month of July.

Yes, the interweb is awash with news that the team formerly known as Vini Fantini are apparently looking at drawing yet another line under the whole Di Luca-Santambrogio imbroglio by snapping up out-of-contract Vuelta dominator Horner, while simultaneously elevating another bald former Grand Tour winner - Stefano Garzelli - to the role of directeur sportif.

Having been savagely shown the hand by UCI World Tour new boys Europcar, Horner's busy agent Michael Rutherford has been in touch with Luca Scinto's team following their successful application for a Pro Continental licence for 2014 under the intriguing name Yellow Fluo.

While clearly a nod to the team's trademark fluorescent yellow day-glo jerseys, the Yellow Fluo moniker didn't last long, however, with Neri Sottoli - a company that produces and exports oils, pickles, canned tomatoes, sauces and other fruit-based produce - stepping in as the main sponsor.

It has to be said, calling your team Yellow Fluo was probably not the best idea for a team hampered by the elevated glow times of their two star riders, Mauro Santambrogio and Danilo Di Luca.

A little rummage around online will show you that there's a pharmaceutical product out there called Yellow Fluorescent Protein - a genetic mutant derived from jellyfish which is used in cell and molecular biology.

The ability of YFP to visualise, track and quantify molecules and events in living cells - in short, trace dastardly things like tumours in one's body - is as admirable as its inevitable connotations with 'glow time' - the period it takes for EPO to flush out of riders' system - is unavoidable.

Adding a less fruity main sponsor with the word 'black' (Neri) will be a good masking agent for all those Yellow Fluo jokes.

But would all the hard work be undone should Horner come on board and team up alongside Garzelli, a man who knows a thing or two about masking agents himself? And why would Horner want to join a team that will probably be barred from their only regular Grand Tour, the Giro?

Neri Sottoli's budget for the coming season is estimated at 2.5 million euros - almost a third of which would be needed to keep the smile on Horner's face.

And if wages are not the main stumbling block then there must be that nagging worry in the back of Scinto's mind that he could be biting off more than he can chew - so soon after choking on gristle.

Let's just hope for all those concerned that this one is a bad Christmas cracker joke - an April fool arriving months too early.

After all, it would be terrible - once April really does arrive - to find Scinto rehashing old quotes about never wanting to have signed so-and-so in the first place, and being forced to do so because of pressure from a sponsor etc etc. It probably wouldn't cut it second time round.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Where do you think Chris Horner will be riding next season? Does he have a trick up his sleeve or are things really so desperate that we'll see the American turning out for the Vino4Ever squad in 2014? Are there any teams who need Horner and would benefit from his experience and proven track record? If so, which ones? Do you think it's age or salary demands that are the stumbling block - or perhaps both? Share your thoughts below...