Levi Leipheimer Retains Tour of California Lead

News & Results

02/21/2007| 0 comments
by Thomas Valentinsen

Levi Leipheimer Retains Tour of California Lead

Governor Schwarzenegger Awards Leader Jersey To Levi Leipheimer, Who Retains Lead After Amgen Tour Of
California

Sacramento
Finish.

Following a long, hard day of racing as nearly 150 elite cyclists competing in the 2007 Amgen Tour of California traveled from Santa Rosa to Sacramento, Team CSC sprinter J.J. Haedo (ARG) claimed today's stage victory in front of continuing record crowds that have reached 620,000 over the first three days of racing, with five left to go. Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team's Levi Leipheimer from Santa Rosa (where today's stage began) continues to wear the Amgen Leader Jersey following the finish in front of the state capitol building before thousands of fans, including many legislators who left their offices to witness the race's conclusion, as well as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who participated in the official post-race ceremonies.

"The Amgen Tour of California showcases the state in the best possible way. We have riders racing from San Francisco to Long Beach. We have the most beautiful places in the world," declared Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on the victory stage after the race, where he helped present leader jerseys. "We're going to do this year, after year, after year because this is a great event."

The top-3 overall times continue to be held by American cyclists, with the second- and third-place general classification cyclists after today closely trailing Leipheimer, including Team Slipstream Powered by Chipotle's first-year pro Jason Donald and Priority Health Cycling Team Presented by Bissell's Ben Jacques-Maynes respectively.

Team CSC's J.J. Haedo (ARG), used the Amgen Tour of California to take another step up the international ladder today.

Two sprint successes that led to two stage wins in the Amgen Tour of California last year put him in the international spotlight, and he was picked up by Team CSC. Competing with Team CSC today against an even stronger field , Haedo claimed his first stage win by beating renowned Credit Agricole sprinter Thor Husvd (NOR), who finished third in the stage just inches behind Liquigas' Luca Paolini (ITA). Approaching the finish line, Haedo was more than four bike lengths clear of his rivals ? a distant win in the world of road sprinting.

?We had a hard day yesterday and put everything into today for the win," explained Haedo in the press conference. "I?m sure tomorrow everyone is going to make an even bigger effort to bring me to the line. It?s a good thing to win a race here because it gives the team confidence in me."

Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel Pro) finished in the pack and retained his Amgen Leader Jersey after a hilly 155.8-mile (186.4km) stage, raced at an average speed of 24.8 mph . ?I am taking it day by day. That?s all we can do because there are a lot of very good riders out there who are just waiting in the wings, and our team has had to do a lot of work, ? said Leipheimer. "But it?s worth it because we get to lead the Amgen Tour of California, and I get to wear the yellow jersey. But we?ll see because tomorrow?s a decisive stage (because of the notorious Sierra Road climb approaching San Jose)."

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