Leipheimer goes coast-to-coast

first_imgLONG BEACH – Levi Leipheimer was going to win the second Amgen Tour of California unless he crashed during the seventh and final stage, a 77.5-mile jaunt consisting of 10 circuit laps through shoreline streets on a partly cloudy Sunday afternoon. Leipheimer was protected by his Team Discovery Channel teammates, as they hung back in the peloton most of the stage. But the sprint leaders were eventually caught by the pack, and that was all that was needed for Leipheimer to emerge with the overall championship. Although he again temporarily lost the virtual lead during the stage, Leipheimer held the yellow leader jersey during the entire eight-day tour, beginning with the prologue in San Francisco. Leipheimer, of Santa Rosa, finished with an overall time of 24 hours, 57 minutes and 24 seconds over the 639.5-mile course. Germany’s Jens Voigt, of Team Computer Sciences Corporation, was second. He finished 21 seconds behind Leipheimer. Jason McCartney of the U.S. was third, 54 seconds back. Ivan Dominguez of Havana, Cuba and Team Toyota United won Sunday’s stage as he zoomed past a heavy cluster of riders, crossing the finish line in two hours, 39 minutes and 28 seconds. A total of 99 riders crossed the finish almost simultaneously and all were credited with the same time. “This year’s race was extremely competitive,” said Leipheimer, who has three top 10 Tour de France finishes. “CSC and the other teams really put a lot of pressure on us and without that level of competition, this victory would not be as satisfying. “It is really one of my most satisfying victories. We really had to fight hard. I don’t know of any other team that could have done it except for Team Discovery Channel.” Leipheimer, 33, wouldn’t go so far as to say this was the best win of his career, but he came close. center_img “It was maybe my most satisfying,” he said. “But to be fair to the Dauphine Libere last year, that is a race with a lot of history. A lot of great champions have won it before. I don’t know if I can call this my biggest victory. But I’ll tell you what, I have a wall at home with some jerseys on it. And this is definitely going to go on that wall.” Leipheimer talked about Team Discovery Channel’s plan of attack heading into Sunday. “We wanted to come out and be aggressive,” said Leipheimer. “It wasn’t going to be a parade lap around the circuit today. We counted on the other teams wanting to win the stage and we saw that there were a number of teams that came in front.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more