Levi Leipheimer

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Posted by bender 03/18/2009 @ 18:13

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News headlines
Carlos Sastre wins key 16th stage of Giro - The Associated Press
On a day when the thermometer soared to 100 degrees, Armstrong was riding with the race favorites up the final climb of the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Monday when he realized that fellow Astana rider Levi Leipheimer had dropped behind....
Australian Wins Stage 14 of Giro After Exhausting Final Climb - New York Times
That is good news for Levi Leipheimer of the United States, who is third over all, 43 seconds back. He lost three seconds to Menchov and did not make up the time in the final minutes on Via Di San Luca. “I was afraid I would lose a few seconds,” he...
Sports buzz: Freshmen win tennis championships - Kansas City Star
Lance Armstrong was riding with the race favorites up the final climb of the 16th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Monday when he realized that fellow Astana rider Levi Leipheimer had dropped behind. Armstrong looked over his shoulder to see where his...
Di Luca Holds Giro Lead but Time Trial Favors Leipheimer - New York Times
“It has the potential to determine the winner of the Giro,” said Johan Bruyneel, the manager of Astana, the team for which Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer ride. “There will be very big gaps in the time, very big gaps. You can lose a lot of time,...
Longhorns grab one of 16 host baseball berths - Denver Post
Levi Leipheimer was the day's big loser, cracking on the final climb and dropping from third to sixth in the overall standings. Sastre was timed in 7 hours, 11 minutes, 54 seconds on the 147-mile leg. Leipheimer finished 11th, 2:51 behind Sastre....
Duke's Cecil wins singles crown in NCAA tennis - Winston-Salem Journal
Levi Leipheimer was the day's big loser, cracking on the final climb and dropping from third to sixth in the overall standings. Sastre was timed in 7 hours, 11 minutes, 54 seconds on over the 147-mile leg from Pergola to Monte Petrano....
Syracuse prevails in lacrosse final - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Even Lance Armstrong's help didn't save Levi Leipheimer. Leipheimer cracked on the final climb of a grueling stage of the Giro d'Italia, falling from third to sixth overall. Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre of Spain won the 16th stage,...
Leipheimer looks to avoid Mr. February curse at Giro d'Italia - SI.com
AP Levi Leipheimer doesn't need sunglasses at the poker table. The 35-year-old Astana rider, currently enjoying the best season of his career, seems to be under the impression that he will be fined $100 per facial expression....
Leipheimer taking high hopes into Giro D'Italia - Houston Chronicle
The powerful Astana team, short on money but definitely not on manpower, will be led around Italy by Levi Leipheimer rather than Lance Armstrong in what looms as a career-defining moment for a man vying for podium status in the annals of American...
Cycling: Leipheimer wins title in New Mexico - Salt Lake Tribune
AP Pinos Altos, NM » Former Salt Lake City resident Levi Leipheimer wrapped up the Tour of the Gila title on Sunday by finishing third in the final stage, just behind teammate Lance Armstrong. The final stage, more than 105 miles of steep roads and...

Levi Leipheimer

Levi Leipheimer winning Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California in 2007.

1 Team names given are those prevailing at time of rider beginning association with that team.

Levi Leipheimer (born October 24, 1973 in Butte, Montana) is an American professional road bicycle racer who rides with UCI ProTeam Team Astana. He previously rode for the American team Discovery Channel, the German cycling team Gerolsteiner, and the Dutch team Rabobank. .

His major results are 1st overall in the 2009 Tour of California (winner of Stage 6 time trial), the 2008 Tour of California (winning the Stage 5 time trial), 2nd overall in the 2008 Vuelta a España (winning two stages), 1st overall in the 2007 Tour of California (winning the Prologue and Stage 5 time trials), 1st overall in the 2006 Dauphiné Libéré, 1st overall in the 2005 Deutschland Tour, 3rd overall in the 2001 Vuelta a España, and four top-ten finishes in the Tour de France general classification, including 3rd overall in 2007. He lives in Santa Rosa, California with his wife Odessa Gunn. Leipheimer won the 2007 USA road championship, 1:11 seconds ahead of Discovery team mate and defending champion George Hincapie.

Leipheimer won the bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in the road time trial.

A competitive skier from 12-19, Leipheimer began cycling in 1987 to train for downhill ski racing. He turned pro in 1997, and rode for Saturn in 1998 and 1999. He won the U.S. time trial championship in 1999, and joined the U.S. Postal Service cycling team.

Leipheimer's breakthrough came in the 2001 Vuelta a España. He was riding well in support of his leader, Roberto Heras. Going into the last individual time trial Leipheimer was 4th overall and trailed his team leader by a few seconds. During that time trial Leipheimer improved his position over his team leader to finish 3rd overall.

Following his 2001 Vuelta a España podium finish, the Dutch team Rabobank recruited Leipheimer as a team leader. In 2002, his first year with the new team, Leipheimer finished eighth overall in his first ever Tour de France.

After Lance Armstrong declined, Leipheimer represented the United States in the 2004 Athens Olympics road race. He did not finish. He finished ninth in the Tour de France.

On August 23, 2005 Leipheimer won the Deutschland Tour by 31 seconds ahead of T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich and Gerolsteiner teammate Georg Totschnig. He solidified his lead by defeating Ullrich in stage four on the Rettenbachferner, the highest climb in European racing that year at 8,760 feet (2,670m).

In 2006, Leipheimer was favorite to win the Tour of California in February. He took the leader's golden jersey on the first day by winning the prologue to San Francisco's Coit Tower, and retained it until Stage 2 when George Hincapie claimed the lead by earning a 10-second bonus in the sprint in San José. Arriving in his hometown, Santa Rosa, in the lead at the end of Stage 1, thousands cheered him. Leipheimer remained competitive throughout the race (won by Floyd Landis), and won the competition for best climber.

After a hiatus from racing that Leipheimer spent training at home, he emerged in June at the Dauphiné Libéré in excellent condition. Third place in the individual time trial coupled with a dominant performance on the stage that ended at Mont Ventoux brought the overall lead. He donned the yellow jersey and never relinquished it to become the first American since Armstrong in 2003 to win.

Leipheimer faced high expectations in the 2006 Tour de France when the main contenders (including Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich) were suspended as a result of the Operación Puerto doping case. Because of this and Armstrong's retirement, none of the top five riders from 2005 competed in 2006. Having placed sixth in 2005, Leipheimer was considered a contender. However, a stage 7 time trial described as the worst of Leipheimer's career, put him five minutes behind the leader, in the middle of the pack, and making a top 10 finish a challenge. Further losses in the first mountain stage hurt further, and made even a top 20 finish questionable. But in the Stage 11, with five difficult climbs, Leipheimer produced a strong second place with the same time as stage winner Denis Menchov and new race leader Floyd Landis. This vaulted Leipheimer from 58th to 13th, albeit still 5:39 behind Landis.

Leipheimer re-signed with Discovery Channel (The team name changed when US Postal ended sponsorship. A sponsorship agreement was signed with Discovery Channel in 2005). In his first season with Team Discovery Channel since re-signing, Leipheimer was the team leader in the 2007 Tour of California. He repeated his prologue win from the previous year on the same course, won the stage 5 time trial, and held the lead from start to finish. In the Paris-Nice he supported teammate Alberto Contador, who won. He placed third in the 2007 Tour de France, 31sec from the winner, his team mate Alberto Contador. Leipheimer won stage 19 of the 2007 Tour de France, the last individual time trial. At the end of the season, Discovery Channel would disband, leaving Leipheimer without a team once again.

Leipheimer joined Astana, managed by Johan Bruyneel, former manager of U.S. Postal/Discovery Channel. On February 13, 2008, Astana was banned from the 2008 Tour de France due to ties to doping scandals of the 2007 Tour. The ban lead Leipheimer to create Let Levi Ride.com. The website, which was designed as a petition for admittance into the tour, is no longer in existence. Leipheimer won the 2008 Tour of California.

Leipheimer won the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in the road time trial. He won both time trial stages of the 2008 Vuelta a España, donning the jersey of race leader after the first.

Leipheimer began the 2009 season by winning the Tour of California for the third consecutive year. He broke away from the main field during the final climb of Stage 2 and earned the race leader's yellow jersey after the stage. Leipheimer went on to win Stage 6, the Solvang individual time trial. Team Astana teammate Lance Armstrong, in his second race after coming back from retirement, rode in support for Leipheimer.

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Rabobank (cycling)

The Rabobank team during the 2005 Rund um den Henninger Turm race.

Rabobank (UCI Team Code: RAB) is a professional bicycle racing team, sponsored by the Rabobank. The team consists of three sections: ProTeam (the UCI ProTour team), Continental (a talent team racing in the UCI Europe Tour), and Cyclo-cross. The team formerly rode Colnago frames but as of 1 January 2009 began a two year contract riding Giant frames equipped with Shimano components.

The cycling team was founded for the 1984 season under the name Kwantum, with mostly cyclists coming from the TI-Raleigh cycling team. Since 1984, the team has entered every Tour de France and since the introduction of divisions in 1998, the team has always been in the first division.

In road bicycle racing, teams take name from their main sponsors. The Rabobank team has previously had the following sponsors, and thus names.

After the season of 1983, the TI-Raleigh team split up because of tension between former world champion Jan Raas and team leader Peter Post, with seven cyclists following Post to the new Panasonic-team and six cyclists joining Raas to the Kwantum team. The team captains of the Kwantum team were Guillaume Driessens, Jan Gisbers and Walter Godefroot. In their first year, the team managed to win the red jersey for intermediate sprints and one stage in the 1984 Tour de France, the Amstel Gold Race and the Dutch national road championship. After the 1984 season, Jan Raas stopped as an active cyclist and became team manager. In 1985 the Kwantum team had a successful year. Victories included two Tour de France stage, the Tour of Luxembourg, Paris-Tours, Paris-Brussels, the Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour of Belgium, again the Dutch national road championship, and the World cycling championship (Joop Zoetemelk). 1986 was less successful; the most important victory was Tour of Belgium.

For the 1987 season, the main sponsor became Superconfex. In that year, the team was officially known as Superconfex - Kwantum - Yoko - Colnago. Jan Raas remained the team leader. After a victory in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne for Ludo Peeters, the new sprinter Jean-Paul van Poppel (coming from the Skala cycling team) gave the team a great year, with three stage wins in the Tour de France (of which two for van Poppel) and the Green Jersey for best sprinter for Jean-Paul van Poppel. Joop Zoetemelk ended his career with a victory in the Amstel Gold Race. From 1988 on, the team was known as Superconfex - Yoko - Opel - Colnago. 1988 was also a successful season for the team, with victories in Paris-Brussels, the Tour of Ireland, the Tour of Belgium, the Amstel Gold Race, and six stages in the Tour de France. In the 1989 season, Jean-Paul van Poppel changed to the Panasonic team. In 1989 his sprinting capacities were missed, and the number of victories was reduced. Still, Paris-Brussels, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Tours were won, together with two stages in the 1989 Tour de France.

After the 1989 season, the main sponsoring was taken over by Buckler. The Tour of Belgium was won again, and the Ronde van Nederland was won as well. That year, the team had the winner of the Dutch national road race championships again, as Peter Winnen won the race. In 1991, the team won the Amstel Gold Race, the Ronde van Nederland and Tour of Flanders. The team had taken over Steven Rooks from the Panasonic team, who immediately became the Dutch national road race champion. The worst year in the team's history was 1992. Only 26 races were won in the season, compared to 64 victories in the successful 1988 season. 1992 also saw a young Erik Dekker entering the team. After that season, Buckler decided to stop sponsoring.

A new sponsor was found in WordPerfect. Steven Rooks left the team, Raúl Alcalá joined the team. Still, the 1993 season did not turn out a great season, with only 29 victories, the most important being Three Days of De Panne and the Tour DuPont. In 1993 and 1994, Michael Boogerd and Leon van Bon started their professional career in the team, and Viatcheslav Ekimov also came. The Tour du Pont was won again, together with the Tour of Luxembourg. The year still was disappointing with only 25 victories.

In 1995, the team was joined by Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, the winner of the Green jersey in the 1994 Tour de France. Abdoujaparov won one stage in the Tour de France, but other than that, the year was still not what the sponsor's had hoped, so a new sponsor had to be found. The title sponsor of the previous two years, WordPerfect, was a product of Novell Software, which carried the team's name this one season.

Raas became the team manager of the Rabobank team while Theo de Rooy, Adrie van Houwelingen and Zoetemelk were directeur sportifs. As a Dutch cycling team, the team has signed many of the prominent Dutch cyclists of the 1990s including Adrie van der Poel, Richard Groenendaal and Erik Breukink as well as keeping the prominent Dutch cyclists from the Novell team that included Leon van Bon, Erik Dekker and Michael Boogerd. In addition the team had many successful cyclists in Edwig van Hooydonck, Rolf Sorensen, Johan Bruyneel and the neo-pro for the 1996 season Australian Robbie McEwen.

The Rabobank team has dominated the Dutch National championships over several disciplines in cycling for example Elite and Under 23 time trial championships, Elite and Under 23 Road Race, Elite and Under 23 Cyclo-cross disciplines as well as Mountain Bike championships. The team also has had the World Champion in several categories for example Cyclo-cross; in 1996 Adrie van der Poel, in 2000 Richard Groenendaal and in 2004 Sven Nys. Óscar Freire became UCI Road World Champion in 2004. Sven Nys, Thijs Verhagen and Lars Boom were Under 23 Cyclo-cross World Champions in 1997, 2002 and 2007 respectively while Boom was became Under 23 World Time trial champion in 2007.

In the 2000 Cyclo-cross World championships there was a conflict between the commercial team interests and the national team interests. Groenendaal attacked during the first lap and was chased by defending cyclo-cross world champion Mario De Clercq who was followed by Groenendaal's Rabobank teammate Sven Nys. Team manager Jan Raas allegedly told Nys not to cooperate in the chase of his commercial teammate and as a result De Clercq never caught Groenendaal enabling Groenendaal to become World Champion. As a result, Nys received much criticism from the Belgian team manager Erik De Vlaeminck as well as the Belgian public.

Jan Raas was the team manager for the first eight years of the teams existence. In 2003 Raas was removed rather abruptly which surprised the other members of staff including Theo De Rooy as well as riders Erik Dekker and Michael Boogerd. De Rooy was promoted to team manager and a former Rabobank rider who had been at that time working as a PR man for Rabobank, Erik Breukink, was named as the new directeur sportif to replace De Rooy. In August 2007 in the aftermath of the affair in which Michael Rasmussen was removed during the 2007 Tour de France, De Rooij resigned from his position as team manager.

The road racing team has won several Classics such as the Ronde van Vlaanderen in 1997, Championship of Hamburg in 1998, the Amstel Gold Race in 1999 and 2001, Paris-Tours in 1999 and 2004, Clásica de San Sebastián in 2000 and Milan-Sanremo in 2004 and 2007. Erik Dekker won the UCI World Cup in 2001 due to his Classic win and high placings in many of the classics.

The team signed American Levi Leipheimer in 2002 as a rider for the Tour de France. Leipheimer finished eighth in his first Tour but crashed out of the race on the first stage of the 2003 Tour de France. Leipheimer finished ninth overall the following year. The team became more of a Grand Tour team as could be seen by Michael Rasmussen's win in the Mountains Classification of the 2005 Tour de France. When Denis Menchov took the lead in the 2005 Vuelta a Espana, he was not expecting to be competing for the overall classification The Rabobank team at that year's Vuelta were not seen as particularly strong or able to assist Menchov in the mountain stages. Menchov finished second to Roberto Heras which was the highest placing of a Rabobank team rider at a grand tour after Michael Boogerd's fifth place in the 1998 Tour de France. Heras was later disqualified for doping and Menchov was made the winner. The following year Menchov focused on the Tour de France where the team rode strongly with Menchov, Boogerd and Rasmussen.

During the 2007 Tour de France, Rabobank fired Michael Rasmussen (2005 Tour de France, 2006 Tour de France K.O.M.) for code-violations while he was in the yellow jersey. The remaining riders of the Rabobank team were given the choice to start the 17th stage without Michael Rasmussen, or to withdraw. That evening they decided to withdraw, but the team changed its mind and announced the following morning that the riders would be starting the 17th stage. Although he started with the rest of the team, Denis Menchov (team leader on the road, who deferred to Rasmussen when the latter seemed to have a better chance at winning) abandoned the race in the middle of the stage.

The Rabobank team was invited for the 2008 Tour de France. Denis Menchov had decided to focus on the Tour de France. To do that, he did not defend his Vuelta a Espana-title, and rode the 2008 Giro d'Italia as preparation for the Tour de France. Menchov finished 4th place in the 2008 Tour de France, and Óscar Freire won the points classification.

The Rabobank cyclo-cross team has dominated the sport in the past with Sven Nys and Richard Groenendaal winning the General Classification competitions such as the Superprestige, the World Cup and the Gazet van Anwerpen trophy over the last eight years. Groenendaal dominated the Dutch cyclo-cross championships for many years. Groenendaal left the team after the 2006-2007 season. He was at that time one of the few remaining Rabobank riders from the 1996 team. Lars Boom joined the team in 2002 as a junior cyclo-cross rider and has already achieved success in the Elite cyclo-cross championships as well as showing promise riding in the UCI Europe Tour with the Rabobank Continental team.

In 2002, the Rabobank cycling team was split into the normal team and the GS3 team, for cyclo-cross and young talents. In 2005 it was renamed to the Continental team. Since 1996, the team won 1796 races , of which 491 were won in the (UCI) ProTour, and 362 in the cyclo-cross protour.

As of 16 February 2008.

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Team Gerolsteiner

Team Gerolsteiner riders having a chat with CSC rider Jens Voigt during the 2006 Tour de France

Team Gerolsteiner (UCI Team Code: GST) was a German road bicycle racing team in the UCI ProTour. It was sponsored by the mineral water company Gerolsteiner Brunnen and Specialized.

The team was founded in 1998 with manager Hans-Michael Holczer and sports directors Rolf Gölz and Christian Henn. The contract with Georg Totschnig in 2001 helped make the team enter Division I. In 2003 the team participated in the Tour de France for the first time.

The leader for several seasons was Georg Totschnig, who recorded top 10 finishes in the Tour de France and was an excellent climber. In 2005, Totschnig won stage 14 of the Tour, showing his skill on the 15km long climb up the Port de Pailhères (2000m at 8.2%). He was overfilled with emotion, after becoming the first Austrian to win a tour stage since Max Bulla in 1931, who won 3 stages.

In 2007, with former riders Georg Totschnig (retired) and Levi Leipheimer (left for Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team) gone, the team turned to youngsters Markus Fothen and Stefan Schumacher to captain the team in the 2007 Tour de France.

The team announced in September 2007 that Gerolsteiner will not be renewing its sponsorship agreement at the end of the 2008 season. In August 2008 the team confirmed it will dissolve after the 2008 season, after being unable to find a new sponsor.

In October 2008, riders Stefan Schumacher and Bernhard Kohl were tested positive for CERA (continuous erythropoitin receptor activator, a third-generation variant of erythropoietin, aka EPO).

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2009 Tour of California

Members of the Rabobank team cycling through the San Joaquin Valley southwest of Visalia

The 2009 Amgen Tour of California was the 4th running of an annual cycling race contained within the state of California. The event was staged February 14–22 and began with a prologue in the state capital of Sacramento. The event was held as part of the schedule of both the UCI America Tour and USA Cycling Professional Tour. The race was won by Levi Leipheimer for the third consecutive year.

The Fourth Tour of California covered nine days and 780.44 miles (1,256.00 km), starting with a flat 2.4 miles (3.9 km) prologue near the California State Capitol in Sacramento on February 14, 2009. Drawing many of the top cyclists from around the world, the Tour of California generated an estimated revenue of $100 million for the state of California.

The Astana Team included two-time returning champion Levi Leipheimer, and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. The 2006 champion, Floyd Landis returned, riding for OUCH Pro Cycling Team.

Tour organizers have switched the route form year to year, hoping to reach out to fans in different parts of the state and maintain the challenge of the race. Santa Cruz, one of the cities added for the 2009 running, expected added costs of $100,000 to cover public services and accommodations for lodging and meals for the cycling teams, and was expecting 250,000 fans to attend the end of Stage 2. The sales and hotel taxes generated by drawing tourists at a traditionally slow time of the year were expected to help recover the costs of hosting the event. Stage 2 also took the peloton across the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time in the tour's history.

In another first, Stage 4 includes an excursion through the the Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada foothills, starting in Merced, then passing through the foothill towns of Mariposa and Oakhurst, and finishing in Clovis (adjacent to Fresno).

The tour organizers tried to integrate climbing into nearly every day's stage; only the prologue, time trial and Stage 5 — the tour's longest at 134.3 miles (216.1 km) — had no climbs. The 2009 Tour features at least one King of the Mountain summit on each other stage, with the Tour's technical director proclaiming that the difficult climbs in the course they designed having the potential to have the leader change on a daily basis.

The eighth stage alone, the last of the tour, stretching nearly 100 miles (160 km) from Rancho Bernardo to Escondido featured four King of the Mountain summits including a climb of Palomar Mountain, home of the Palomar Observatory, which runs for 7 miles (11 km), climbing 4,200 feet (1,300 m) at an average grade of 7%, with 21 switchbacks on the mountain that reaches an elevation of 5,123 feet (1,561 m).

For the first time, the 2009 tour will have an additional 8th stage that will increase the competitiveness of the event.

Francisco Mancebo of Rock Racing broke away after 5 miles of racing, and stayed away almost all day. He was briefly joined by Tim Johnson and David Kemp in his breakaway effort, but he later broke away from them as well, and they were reabsorbed by the peloton. A 23-man chase group formed as Mancebo neared Santa Rosa, which included four members of Astana, working for two-time defending race champion Levi Leipheimer, as well as some other overall favorites such as Ivan Basso. Race officials decided to extend the "crash zone," the area in which riders would be granted the same finishing time as the group they were in on crashing (should they crash) from the final lap of the Santa Rosa circuit to the first, since the road was saturated by a steady downpour of rain. The chase group started out 12 minutes behind Mancebo and closed the time gap to 1'07" at the beginning of the first lap of the Santa Rosa circuit. They subsequently slowed at the end of the first circuit (since the only thing left to gain was the stage win - the group that was together at the beginning of the first circuit were all given the same finishing time, relative to Mancebo) and allowed some riders to attack, chief among them Vincenzo Nibali and Jurgen Van de Walle, who joined Mancebo at the beginning of the last lap. Mancebo managed to outsprint Nibali and Van de Walle to the line. Stage placings were taken on the first time the riders crossed the finish line, but Van de Walle and Nibali were awarded identical sprint classification points for finishing second and third as the riders credited with finishing second and third, Leipheimer and Michael Rogers.

Monday, February 16 Sausalito to Santa Cruz Start Time: 8:30 AM Miles: 115.9 KM: 186.6 End ETA: 12:52–2:03 PM Note: For the first time, the peloton rode across the Golden Gate Bridge.

After a few unsuccessful breakaway attempts immediately following the neutral zone, Rabobank's Grischa Niermann was the first rider to break free of the peloton. He was quickly joined by Garmin-Slipstream's Steven Cozza and eight other riders, to form a ten-man break that held a four to five minute advantage over the peloton for most of the stage. The best placed rider in the break was Ben Jacques-Maynes of Bissell, 5'05" behind race leader Francisco Mancebo, whose Rock Racing team paced the peloton calmly, content to let the breakaway get a lead. When the peloton reached the beginning of the climb of Bonny Doon road, Astana took over the pace, and the time gap to the breakaway fell precipitously. On their respective ways up the climb, Carlos Barredo attacked from the leading group of ten and Levi Leipheimer from the peloton, each coming free. Leipheimer gradually overtook members of the day's breakaway as they faltered on the climb, eventually reaching Barredo, Thomas Peterson, and Jason McCartney (Peterson and McCartney had themselves caught Barredo only moments earlier) to take first position on the road. Leipheimer was the first to the top of the climb, and he and Peterson stayed together on the descent. A 17-man chase group paced by Lance Armstrong reabsorbed all the other members of the morning breakaway. Peterson took the stage win uncontested, with Leipheimer just behind him, and the Armstrong group having closed to 20 seconds behind them.

A 4-man breakaway formed immediately after the stage's neutral zone, comprising Bauke Mollema of Rabobank, Jeff Louder of BMC, Bradley White of OUCH, and Brian Vandborg of Liquigas. The best-placed among them was Mollema, two minutes behind race leader Levi Leipheimer (the rest were nearly 24 minutes behind Leipheimer). King of the Mountains leader Francisco Mancebo joined them shortly thereafter and topped the climb up Sierra Road in first position, padding his lead. He then rejoined the peloton. The breakaway's lead extended to nearly six minutes, which was increased partially because Leipheimer crashed at the front of the peloton at about the 30 mile mark causing the Astana-paced bunch to slow to allow him to rejoin them. The time gap held steady at between four and five minutes for most of the stage, until Team Columbia-High Road, Quick Step, and Cervélo TestTeam came forward after the descent of the second climb of the day to take the pace, working to get the field together so their respective strong sprinters would have a chance at the stage win. Louder attacked from the leading group on the way into Modesto, and only Mollema could answer. They were subsequently caught in the middle of the Modesto circuit, and a classic bunched sprint saw the stage win go to Thor Hushovd.

Several unsuccessful breakaway attempts occurred in the first hour of racing. The breakaway that got away involved Francisco Mancebo, Jason McCartney, Serge Pauwels, and Tyler Hamilton. Mancebo took maximum points in the climbs and intermediate sprints available to him. After topping the fourth climb of the day, Mancebo dropped and rejoined the peloton. The breakaway's biggest advantage was close to six minutes before the peloton, paced chiefly by Team Columbia-High Road, began to chase in earnest, on the descent from the fifth and last climb. The catch occurred with about two miles left to race. A Rabobank rider attacked with the last half mile but was caught by Mark Cavendish, who launched his sprint early but held on in a photo finish for the stage win.

This was a rather straightforward day of racing, on a course without even a single categorized climb. After five miles, a six-man breakaway formed, that was eventually whittled to four: Matthew Crane, Glen Chadwick, Pieter Weening, and Cameron Evans. Racing under clear blue skies for the first time in the Tour, the four were caught with about three miles to left to race, as the teams of the prominent sprinters ratcheted up the pace in the peloton to bring them back. The finish was contested in another mass sprint, won for the second day in a row by Mark Cavendish.

Early times to beat were set by Saxo Bank riders Jens Voigt and Gustav Erik Larsson, with Larsson 13 seconds better of the two (though Voigt's ride was enough to propel him into fourth place in the General Classification). They stood for almost the whole stage, with noted time trial specialists such as George Hincapie and Stef Clement failing to top them. Even former world time trial champion Michael Rogers could not beat Larsson's time. The reigning American national champion David Zabriskie was the first to beat Larsson, by nine seconds. Yellow jersey wearer and two-time defending Tour of California and Solvang time trial champion Levi Leipheimer was the last man to take the course. He was two seconds better than Zabriskie at the intermediate time check and had eight seconds on him at the line, winning the stage.

A very aggressive first hour of racing saw many attempted attacks reeled in by the race leader's Astana team. It wasn't until nearly the half the stage, about 40 miles, had been covered that a successful breakaway group of ten formed. They attained a maximum advantage of four minutes, but for the better part of the stage the time gap held steady between two and three minutes, as Astana was content to let them get that lead. On the descent of the one climb of the day, King of the Mountains leader Francisco Mancebo clipped a small rock and tumbled off his bike, suffering a concussion and elbow and hand fractures, which forced him to abandon the race and surrender the KOM lead to Jason McCartney. The riders took five laps on a finishing circuit in the city of Pasadena. On the second lap, an even split in the breakaway formed, with five riders coming 20 seconds clear of the others, but by the end of the third, the group was one again. On the fourth lap, Fränk Schleck attacked from the back of the group and got clear for several minutes, but was eventually caught. The last split saw Rinaldo Nocentini, Hayden Roulston, and Pieter Weening come free on the sprint toward the finish, with Nocentini winning the stage. The other members of the breakway finished 7 seconds back, and the peloton was 2' 19" behind the stage winner.

What was called the Tour of California's queen stage again saw very early attacking. Jason McCartney joined a three-man break that came free of the peloton almost immediately and topped the first two of four categorized climbs on the course in first position, assuring his victory in the King of the Mountains classification. Numerous splits occurred going up the mammoth Mount Palomar climb, with race leader Levi Leipheimer isolated from his teammates at one point, for the first and only time in the Tour, as he had to answer attacks from David Zabriskie and Michael Rogers. A group of GC leaders, along with most of team Astana, consolidated on the descent. Four riders came clear and were in the lead approaching the last climb of the day - Vincenzo Nibali, Fränk Schleck, Bauke Mollema, and Glen Chadwick. Nibali, 2' 21" behind Leipheimer, was a small threat to the race lead, but the Astana-paced leading group kept the time gap at around one minute. After numerous attacks, only Nibali and Schleck remained out front. The chase from the Astana-led group proved too slow to catch Nibali and Schleck, and they were able to survive to finish and contest the stage win between themselves. Schleck opened up a small gap on the Italian in the final straightaway and won the stage.

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Source : Wikipedia