Tour of California: Leipheimer Repeats!

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This just in from Team Astana!
American Levi Leipheimer rolled his custom-painted Trek Madone 6.9 across the line in Pasadena on Sunday to score his second consecutive Tour of California championship, successfully defending his 49 second lead over second place David Millar.  For Leipheimer, this year’s victory was especially meaningful given the high caliber of riders attending the Tour, including top stars like Millar, David Zabriskie, Tom Boonen, Christian Vandevelde, Paolo Bettini, Oscar Freire, Mario Cipollini, and Fabian Cancellara: “The level of the opponents made this victory so special for me. To win this race was really unbelievable.”Leipheimer was quick to give the nod to his Astana teammates, who skillfully controlled the race after he took over the leader’s jersey following stage three’s dramatic finish: “Without my teammates Brajkovic, Gusev, Horner, Ivanov, Kemps, Mizourov, and Rubiera, I would never have succeeded. They were up front in the most miserable, horrific weather conditions. It is a job really nobody wants to do. We proved that Astana Cycling Team is definitely the best team in the world.”

Leipheimer’s performance in the Tour of California, and the performance of the entire Astana team, adds to the case that Astana deserves inclusion in the season’s biggest races, including the Tour de France. The ASO’s decision to ban Astana from its races not only denies cycling fans the opportunity to see the sport’s top team compete at the highest level, but also prohibits Leipheimer from realizing his life-long dream of winning the world’s biggest race. LetLeviRide.com—a grassroots campaign to draw attention to the ASO’s decision—has generated enormous support for Leipheimer and his Astana team, and to date has collected over 38,000 signatures. If you haven’t already, please visit LetLeviRide.com and add your voice to the growing number of cycling fans urging the ASO to reverse its decision.

Florida Cyclocross State Championship

Well I took a nice vacation at the end of January to the Gulf Coast of Florida to visit a friend of mine and do a little Cyclocross racing. This past fall I had an awesome experience racing cross and had to get one more in before I ended my season. It was a great time riding in weather that was in the sixties versus the twenties for a cross race. There were actually some climbs on the course, not bad for Florida, and a serious mud pit. The only thing I wasn’t ready for was an hour long race versus the 40 minute race I am used to up here. I had my best finish yet and had an awesome time competing in my new favorite discipline of bike racing. They chipped us for the race which means that they kept close track of our lap times and speeds, which was pretty cool. I also had a chance to log some miles on the road and get to do what I encourage all you to do, which is ride. If you get a chance please check out the pictures my wife took at the race and I will also include a link to the results. The hard part now is waiting till next fall for the next Cross Season.

http://www.floridacycling.com/DynamicResults.htm?runid=725571

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Let Levi Ride!

On February 13, the Amaury Sports Organization (ASO) barred Team Astana from competing in any race or event organized by the ASO in 2008, which includes Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Tours and the Tour de France. The ASO cited the doping scandals of last year’s Tour de France as justification.

Yet, there’s no comparison between the 2007 Astana team and the new Astana. The entire organizational structure has been rebuilt under the direction of the new general manager, Johan Bruyneel, who has thoroughly cleaned house. What’s more, Astana has adopted the rigorous doping controls developed by anti-doping expert Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard, and Astana now spends more money on anti-doping controls than any other pro team.

“That the happenings of last year… prompted the Tour organizers to leave Astana out of the season’s most important races sounds understandable,” notes Bruyneel. “However, the 2008 Astana has nothing to do with the team of last year. We’ve done everything to change the dynamics of the team, new management, new riders, new philosophy, only the name of the sponsor remains.”

But, the ASO has turned a blind eye to Johan’s efforts. By barring the entire team outstanding athletes like Levi Leipheimer, who was not a member of last year’s Astana team and who has never been implicated in any doping affair, are forced to sit on the sidelines while their life’s work passes them by.

“When I saw the Tour de France on TV when I was young,” laments Leipheimer, “I knew that someday I wanted to do that race. I sacrificed my life to participate. After finishing on the podium last year I want to do even better. Now I’m a victim of an illogical decision and have been excluded from the race.”

Show your support for Levi and Team Astana and join the Campaign to Let Levi Ride! go here http://letleviride.com/

Senate Bill 768

A recent Washington Post article:  Supervisors Oppose Bill That Would End Proffers explains that Senate Bill 768 threatens to take away the proffer system with a flat rate fee.

This bill not only threatens Fairfax County but Loudoun County and VA as a whole.  Recently, proffers have helped get us trails like the CCT and additional park land.  This could also effect trying to get more bike lanes and trails.  Speak out for your neighborhoods.  Contact your state senators and delegates immediately to let them know that you oppose this bill.

Blog you dogs!

This is stenciled on to the bike path along Prince William County Parkway where the path passes a lovely drainage pond:

Alligator Stencil

I didn’t know that my fellow Manassasites had the time for this kind of thing. I had the impression that they were all too busy worrying about multi-family Hispanic households to have a sense of humor. There is hope- even if the artist did spell “alligator” wrong…