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.