Tour of California – LEVI WINS!
(Photo by Graham Watson)
Congrats to Levi on his 3rd consecutive win at the AMGEN Tour of California! This of course could not have been done without the support of his team, Astana, who also placed first in the team classification.
This was an absolutely amazing race to watch, and it was great for the sport of cycling in the United States. Some of the racers have compared this race to that of a Grand Tour, and the over 2 million fans that showed up to watch the race and chear made the crowds feel like one of the biggest races in Europe. It is sure to be even bigger next year with its great success.
Top 3 GC
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana, 31.28.21
2 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin – Slipstream, at 0.36
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia – Highroad, at 0.45
7 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana, at 1.46
10 Jose Luis Rubiera (Spa) Astana, at 2.48
21 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana, at 8.16
22 Christopher Horner (USA) Astana, at 10.14
28 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana, at 16.30
51 Steve Morabito (Swi) Astana, at 36.53
58 Gregory Rast (Swi) Astana, at 40.52
Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia – Highroad
King of the Mountains
Jason Mccartney (USA) Team Saxo Bank
Best Young Rider
Robert Gesink, Rabobank (for 3rd year in a row)
Stage 8, Sunday, Feb 22 – On Sunday, the race was not it’s usual celebratory stage of the Grand Tours. Big climbs, many breakaways, and a fast peleton kept everyone on their toes. The day ended with with a 2-man break of Schleck edging out Nibali at the line for the victory. George Hincapie of Highroad, took the field sprint for 3rd.
Stage 7, Saturday, Feb 21 – Yet another stage with a breakaway, however this 10 man group managed to stick. Rinaldo Nocentini of AG2R-La Mondiale took the stage victory and finished 2:19 ahead of the peleton. None of the men in the break were a threat to Levi and Astana, and the top GC remains unchanged for the stage.
Stage 6, Friday Feb 20, Individual Time Trial – Levi wins finishing the 24.1k course in just 30:40 averaging over 29 MPH! He edged out US Time Trial Champion David Zabriskie by just 8 seconds from Garmin-Slipstream. Rounding off the the podium for the day is Gustav Larsson from Saxo Bank at 17 seconds back. Stay tuned this weekend for the final 2 stages!
Stage 5, Thursday Feb 19 – This stage looked very similar to the day before; sunny weather, a long breakaway group that got caught in the final miles of the race, and Cavendish getting perfectly led out by his teammate for the victory with Boonen close behind. Since Stage 2, there have been no changes to the overall GC, however that could be changing Friday with the 24k individual time trial.
Stage 4, Wednesday Feb 18 – Finally some better weather made one of the hilliest stages of the Tour more enjoyable (but still grueling) for the racers. A break was able to keep away for most of the race, which included Tyler Hamilton, Jason McCartney, and Serge Pauwels, but they were caught with about 1km to go. At the line, Cavendish edged out Boonen by only a few inches for the victory. Once again, there are no changes to the overall GC.
Stage 3, Tuesday, Feb 17 – Another rainy day produced a 4-man break that got up to over 5 minutes and stayed away for most of the race. Once on the flats in the second half of the race, the peleton turned on the gas and caught the break within the last mile, leaving the finish up to the sprinters. Team Cervelo put all their guys up front and was able to power their teammate Thor Hushovd across the line for the victory. The peleton all finished together, and there are no changes to the overall GC.
Stage 2, Monday, Feb 16 – Early in the race, a small break of riders formed that eventually got up to a 5 minute gap. The peleton lessened the gap a little bit coming into the final climb with about 30k left, where Levi took off from the field, eventually catching all riders from the breakaway. Only Thomas Peterson could hang on his wheel, who took the victory for the stage with Levi right behind him. The main peleton group finished just 21 seconds back. Levi is now first in the GC with 4 Astana teammates in the top 8.
Stage 1, Sunday, Feb 15 – Stage 1 was a very rainy stage, hindering communications with the riders and TV coverage. To avoid a major crash at the finish line, final times for the day were awarded on the first of three, 3.1 mile circuits. Francisco Mancebo took the victory by his long, solo breakaway. Just 18 riders finished in the next group 67 seconds back, including Levi, Lance, and Chris Horner. Levi remains in second overall 62 seconds behind Mancebo.
Prologue, Saturday, Feb 14 – Fabian Cancellara from Saxo Bank wins the prologue, with Levi finishing just 2 seconds behind in 2nd place. The US time trial champion, David Zabriskie, finished 3rd for the day, with Lance not far behind in 10th only 5 seconds back.