Chris Horner is more than twice the age of some of his Tour of Utah competitors. But he's still energetic, still hoping for a return to top form, still hoping another win.

But Horner, who will turn 45 in October, hasn't won a race in nearly three years. He's been injured often, hasn't ridden for team at the highest level of the sport since his 2013 Tour of Spain title, and hasn't fully recovered from a bacterial lung infection he contracted two years ago.

The 2011 Tour of California winner, Horner’s career highlights also include winning the Tour of the Basque Country in Spain and six Tour de France finishes. He's competing in his 22nd pro season and is constantly asked about retirement.

Prior to stage 3 of the Tour of Utah, Horner spoke at his team van about his return to fitness, his longer career and thoughts on retirement. He will likely compete in two additional races this season: the five-day Tour of Alberta (Sept. 1-5) and the Reading 120 (Sept. 10) in Pennsylvania.

Question: Have you made a decision on next season?

CH: I don't know. But I am not interested in pulling a Brett Favre on that (retirement). I am just going to keep it to myself. When the day comes, I’ll just say,'That's it. I will see you guys later."

Q: Will you know when it's time to retire?

CH: I'll know. I just won't be competitive. What I am really waiting for, what I am hoping for, is that the lungs clear up and I will put on a spectacular show one day, and shortly after that I will call it (a career).

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Q: Can you explain your lung infection and the condition affects your racing?

That's what really affects my breathing. It's the equivalent of driving a motorcycle with a dirty air filter. If you are driving half throttled, everything is fine You don't even know it's dirty. But when you go full throttle, the things sputters out and dies. What happens is that when it (lungs) sputter out, I have to shut the legs down. When I shut it down, the lungs re-open and I slowly have to bring the power up. At the moment, it's in a pretty decent state, but it's not 100 percent; it's 80 percent.

Q: In years past by August you'd have 60 race days on your legs, but year you have two-dozen or maybe 28. How does that change you?

CH: It doesn't change me because I train really good. I prefer to come into races 100 percent, rather than ride the races for training. For me, I prefer racing for 60 days throughout the entire year. Back in the day, guys would race 100 days.

They would go to races to get fit.

Q: How has the peloton changed since you were a young rider?

CH: It's harder to predict who's winning. Back then, there was one or two big teams. Now all of the teams are really even. What happens is take a look at the finish of these climbs and you've got one or two guys from every team instead of four guys from one team and one or two guys from individual teams.

That's the big change. And then because the teams are so even, in the sprint it's curb to curb, instead of strung out single file. If you had a big budget team back then you'd buy the best sprinter. Each team would do that. You'd have the best sprinter against the best sprinter. Teams could do lead-outs no one could match.

Q: When you go to a race and the other guys are half your age, what's that like for you?

CH: I'm comfortable with it. It doesn't bother me in the races. I don't even think about it in races. But on the podium or in press conferences or after the races, that's when you see the big differences. They're doing things they like to do and I'm doing things guys my age like to do. When they're like ‘Let's go out and drink,” I’d rather go home and hang out with my kids.