Levi Leipheimer Wins Tour of the Gila Time Trial
First podium For Lance Armstrong.
There are still two days to go, but Levi Leipheimer has taken an option on the final victory in the 23th Tour of the Gila. Leipheimer was impressive in stage 3, the Dan Potts Memorial individual time trial in Tyrone over 25 km (16.15 m).
The leader in the race (after winning Stage 1 on Wednesday) completed the course in course-record time of 32.59. For Levi Leipheimer it is his 7th victory of the season, his third in an individual time trial. Tom Zirbel (Bissell) finished 2nd, 53 seconds behind Leipheimer. Levi’s Mellow Johnny's teammate Lance Armstrong took his first podium place of the season, finishing 3rd at 1'23". In the GC, Levi Leipheimer has now a comfortable advantage of 2.39 to Peter Stetina (Felt - Holowesko Partners - Garmin).
"I simply do my best,” commented a happy Leipheimer after the finish. "Yes, I am a specialist in this work, but that doesn't mean that it is so easy. Having to climb the Little Burro Pass twice made it not so easy. A good test for the Tour of Italy anyway. It is always better to tune-up your time trial skills in a race.”
The Tour of the Gila marks Armstrong's first event since he broke his collarbone on March 23th at the Vuelta a Castilla y León. "It was a tough course, deceivingly hard,” he said. “There were a lot of false flats out there with a combination of hills, wind and altitude. I think I buried myself in parts and couldn't bring it back because of the altitude, but the ride was not so bad all things considered."
The Tour of the Gila ends on Sunday. Saturday's stage is a climber criterium in Silver City while Sunday's queen stage (the Gila Monster Road Race) will take the riders to the mountaintop at Pinos Altos.
Result 2009 Tour of the Gila Stage 3, ITT Tyrone 25 km/16.15 mi
1 Levi Leipheimer 32.59; 2 Tom Zirbel 0.53; 3 Lance Armstrong 1.23; 4 Phil Zajicek 1.36; 5 Peter Stetina 1.50
Overall rankings after 3 stages
1 Levi Leipheimer; 2 Peter Stetina 2.39; 3 Chris Baldwin 2.51; 4 Lance Armstrong 3.03; 5 Phil Zajicek 3.36