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Leipheimer wins the Solvang time trial

  • By John Wilcockson
  • Published Feb. 20, 2009
  • Updated Aug. 4, 2010 at 4:48 PM EDT

By John Wilcockson

2009 ATOC, stage 6: Leipheimer nails it in Solvang … again.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Levi Leipheimer is an undemonstrative guy. So when the Astana team leader thrust up his arms and raised three fingers 10 meters before he crossed the finish line on Friday’s stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California, that was big. The three fingers signaled his third consecutive victory in the 15-mile Solvang time trial, and it may well signal his third overall victory come Sunday night in Escondido.

To win the time trial on a day of warm sunshine, Leipheimer had to break his own course record by seven seconds, with a time of 30:40, at 29.3 mph, which was just eight seconds faster than U.S. national TT champion Dave Zabriskie of Garmin-Slipstream. Zabriskie moved into second place overall, 36 seconds back, with two difficult stages to come.

2009 Amgen Tour of California
Stage 6, Solvang time trial, 24.1 km (15 miles)

Winner: Levi Leipheimer (Astana)
Leader: Levi Leipheimer (Astana)
Winner’s average speed: 47.2 kph (29.3 mph)
Rabobank Best Young Rider: Robert Gesink (Rabobank)
Best Team: Astana
Herbalife Sprint Leader: Mark Cavendish Columbia-Highroad) 36 points; Francisco Mancebo (Rock Racing) 30 points; Thor Hushovd (Cervelo TestTeam) 28 points
Amgen Couragous Award: George Hincapie (Columbia-Highroad)California King of the Mountains Leader: Francisco Mancebo (Rock Racing)
Peloton: Ivan Basso (Liquigas) and Bernard Sulzberger (Fly V) dropped out. 106 riders are expected to start Saturday’s stage.
Up next: Stage 7 is 143.2 km (88.9 miles) from Santa Clarita to Pasadena. The route includes the 4,900-foot Millcreek Summit at about mile 38, and concludes with five circuits near the Rose Bowl.

“I’m used to hearing a bit bigger gaps than that,” Leipheimer said, referring to the three-second advantage he held over Zabriskie at the official time check, at the top of Ballard Canyon, 6.2 miles from the finish. “I definitely had to keep pushing. It hurts while you’re out there but now I feel very satisfied.”

Zabriskie needed longer to catch his breath after the finish than Leipheimer. “I felt great,” he said. “I was looking forward to today as an opportunity to try to win the race. That didn’t happen. Levi is a very good competitor.”

Leipheimer was just as appreciative of Zabriskie. “Dave is super talented; you can see when he puts it together he goes very fast. I’m really proud to be able to stand next to him today because he’s a good friend,” he said. “I’m glad that he showed up here in good form because it makes for a great race. The whole of the Tour of California hinges on this half-hour; and for the whole winter, every time I got on my time trial bike, I thought about this day and this half-hour.”

2009 ATOC, stage 6: Zabriskie finishes second, just eight seconds back.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Zabriskie’s brilliant ride lifted him above Columbia-Highroad’s Michael Rogers, who was fourth on the stage, 22 seconds back, and is now in third overall, 46 seconds down on Leipheimer. “I was happy with my ride today,” Rogers said. “Of course it hurt the whole way around, as it should. Hats off to Levi and Dave … and everyone really. It’s been a tough tour. I think every one is looking forward to Sunday.”

Besides having Rogers in third, Columbia also has its talented young Swedish rider Thomas Lövkvist in fifth overall, 1:29 back. With two in the top five, California-based Columbia still has a chance of upsetting Leipheimer and his Astana squad; but it’s a very slim chance. “There are some tough mountains coming up,” Rogers said, referring to the 4,906-foot climb of Millcreek Summit on Saturday and 5,123-foot Palomar Mountain on Sunday. “I am sure it’s going to be tough. I don’t see the GC opening up, but there are a bunch of guys looking for stage wins, and anything can happen during the day.”

Rogers added, “Obviously there are some hard climbs coming up. I haven’t been over the stages, so they are new for me. My teammates will keep me well informed. It’s going to be hard to do something to change the overall, but you never say never.”

2009 ATOC, stage 6: Armstrong on his once-stolen TT rig.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Armstrong’s first big test

While the top two American time trialists also top the Tour of California GC, their former master, Lance Armstrong, had a difficult re-entry into competition at this very highest level. “It’s really a tough course,” Armstrong told VeloNews. “It’s hard on the way out, false flat and a little bit of head wind with a couple of rollers. And then a bumpy road coming back when you’re trying to just tuck and take it easy a little bit.”

As for his own ride, Armstrong said, “I gave it everything I had, but it’s been a long time since I did an effort like that. But all in all I wanted to be top 10.” He actually ended up in 14th, 1:16 down on Astana teammate Leipheimer, a slightly bigger gap than he’d anticipated.

More importantly, though, the seven-time Tour de France champion used this time trial as a first real test in his bid to reach back to the level he had in clinching his seventh Tour de France almost four years ago. He used his new Trek TT bike, which was returned to the team Wednesday night after being stolen last weekend in Sacramento.

“The bike felt good,” Armstrong said. “The position felt good, comfortable, no soreness, no tightness. And the cadence was good. I really focused on cadence, tried not to get above 110 (RPM), which I tend to do. (Team manager) Johan (Bruyneel) constantly reminded me: cadence, head down. I just need to do those intervals on that stuff to get it back.”

2009 AToC, stage 6: Armstrong and Horner warm up under the team tent in Solvang

Photo: David Kessler

Defending the lead

Armstrong, who now lies in sixth overall, has an immediate goal of keeping Leipheimer in the Amgen yellow jersey. “Lance is a great teammate,” Leipheimer said. “He will focus on me winning this race. I hope to be working for him (at the Tour de France), and that would mean he is back to the level he was when winning seven Tours. I would be proud to help him win an eighth Tour — or his first Giro.”

As for the Tour of California, Astana’s task of defending Leipheimer’s lead should not be too difficult. “It would take a lot of screwing up on Astana’s part,” main challenger Zabriskie said, “With the depth and experience on the team, and Johan as manager, they know what they are doing. It would take a huge screw up (for them to lose).”

Saturday’s stage 7 from Santa Clarita to Pasadena is next in line. “We did this stage last year,” Zabriskie said. “There’s a big climb, but it’s not crazy, fairy gradual. It should be a field sprint or a breakaway — everyone knows it.”

With a forecast of sunshine and temperatures in the 70s, the 89-mile stage goes over Millcreek at mile 38, descends to Pasadena at mile 66, and ends with five laps of 4.7 miles around the Rose Bowl.

Photo Gallery

Results

Stage 6results: | (GC standings )
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1. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana in .30:40
2. David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream in .30:48
3. Gustav Larsson (SWE) Team Saxo Bank in .30:57 at 17
4. Michael Rogers (AUS) Team Columbia-High Road in .31:02 at 22
5. Jens Voigt (GER) Team Saxo Bank in .31:10 at 30
6. George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia-High Road in .31:16 at 36
7. Tom Zirbel (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling in .31:19 at 39
8. Jason McCartney (USA) Team Saxo Bank in .31:21 at 41
9. Stef Clement (NED) Rabobank in .31:23 at 43
10. Thomas Lovkvist (SWE) Team Columbia-High Road in .31:31 at 51
11. Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling in .31:35 at 55
12. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Slipstream in .31:49 at 1:09
13. Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank in .31:55 at 1:15
14. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana in .31:56 at 1:16
15. Stuart O’grady (AUS) Team Saxo Bank in .31:56 at …
16. Luis Romero Amaran (CUB) Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in .31:57 at 1:17
17. Jeremy Vennell (NZL) Bissell Pro Cycling in .32:00 at 1:20
18. Janez Brajkovic (SLO) Astana in .32:01 at 1:21
19. Francisco Mancebo (ESP) Rock Racing in .32:02 at 1:22
20. Svein Tuft (CAN) Garmin-Slipstream in .32:03 at 1:23
21. Ian Mckissick (USA) Bmc Racing Team in .32:06 at 1:26
22. Rory Sutherland (AUS) Ouch Presented By Maxxis in .32:06 at …
23. Grischa Niermann (GER) Rabobank in .32:16 at 1:36
24. Christopher Horner (USA) Astana in .32:19 at 1:39
25. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Slipstream in .32:22 at 1:42
26. Christophe Riblon (FRA) Ag2r La Mondiale in .32:22 at …
27. Fränk Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank in .32:22 at …
28. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Liquigas in .32:23 at 1:43
29. Enrique Gutierrez (ESP) Rock Racing in .32:27 at 1:47
30. Hayden Roulston (NZL) Cervelo Test Team in .32:29 at 1:49
31. Carlos Barredo (ESP) Quick Step in .32:33 at 1:53
32. Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling in .32:38 at 1:58
33. Rinaldo Nocentini (ITA) Ag2r La Mondiale in .32:42 at 2:02
34. Timothy Johnson (USA) Ouch Presented By Maxxis in .32:43 at 2:03
35. Walle Jurgen Van De (BEL) Quick Step in .32:43 at …
36. Alexandre Moos (SUI) Bmc Racing Team in .32:45 at 2:05
37. Kevin Seeldraeyers (BEL) Quick Step in .32:46 at 2:06
38. Dominique Rollin (CAN) Cervelo Test Team in .32:47 at 2:07
39. Yaroslav Popovych (UKR) Astana in .32:47 at …
40. José Luis Rubiera Vigil (ESP) Astana in .32:50 at 2:10
41. De Castro Inigo Cuesta Lopez (ESP) Cervelo Test Team in .32:51 at 2:11
42. Valeriy Kobzarenko (UKR) Team Type 1 in .32:53 at 2:13
43. Martin Elmiger (SUI) Ag2r La Mondiale in .33:03 at 2:23
44. Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team in .33:06 at 2:26
45. Michael Barry (CAN) Team Columbia-High Road in .33:07 at 2:27
46. Mark Cavendish (GBR) Team Columbia-High Road in .33:08 at 2:28
47. Andy Schleck (LUX) Team Saxo Bank in .33:08 at …
48. Karl Menzies (AUS) Ouch Presented By Maxxis in .33:09 at 2:29
49. Brian Vandborg (DEN) Liquigas in .33:15 at 2:35
50. Adam Hansen (AUS) Team Columbia-High Road in .33:16 at 2:36
51. Bauke Mollema (NED) Rabobank in .33:21 at 2:41
52. Thomas Frei (SUI) Bmc Racing Team in .33:22 at 2:42
53. Peter Latham (NZL) Bissell Pro Cycling in .33:23 at 2:43
54. Floyd Landis (USA) Ouch Presented By Maxxis in .33:23 at …
55. Markus Zberg (SUI) Bmc Racing Team in .33:27 at 2:47
56. Mathias Frank (SUI) Bmc Racing Team in .33:27 at …
57. Matthew Crane (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team in .33:30 at 2:50
58. Brett Lancaster (AUS) Cervelo Test Team in .33:30 at …
59. Bradley White (USA) Ouch Presented By Maxxis in .33:31 at 2:51
60. Nick Reistad (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team in .33:32 at 2:52
61. Kevin De Weert (BEL) Quick Step in .33:35 at 2:55
62. Glen Chadwick (NZL) Rock Racing in .33:35 at …
63. Thomas Peterson (USA) Garmin-Slipstream in .33:36 at 2:56
64. Serge Pauwels (BEL) Cervelo Test Team in .33:36 at …
65. Marco Velo (ITA) Quick Step in .33:37 at 2:57
66. Oscar Sevilla (ESP) Rock Racing in .33:38 at 2:58
67. Pedro Horrillo Munoz (ESP) Rabobank in .33:38 at …
68. Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (COL) Rabobank in .33:38 at …
69. Kevin Hulsmans (BEL) Quick Step in .33:41 at 3:01
70. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Slipstream in .33:43 at 3:03
71. Will Routley (CAN) Jelly Belly Cycling Team in .33:46 at 3:06
72. Tom Boonen (BEL) Quick Step in .33:49 at 3:09
73. Tyler Wren (USA) Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in .33:53 at 3:13
74. Cameron Evans (CAN) Ouch Presented By Maxxis in .33:53 at …
75. Gregory Rast (SUI) Astana in .33:56 at 3:16
76. Pieter Weening (NED) Rabobank in .33:57 at 3:17
77. Christopher Jones (USA) Team Type 1 in .33:57 at …
78. Addy Engels (NED) Quick Step in .33:59 at 3:19
79. José Haedo Juan (ARG) Team Saxo Bank in .34:05 at 3:25
80. Hubert Dupont (FRA) Ag2r La Mondiale in .34:06 at 3:26
81. Matthew Wilson (AUS) Team Type 1 in .34:07 at 3:27
82. Carlos Sastre Candil (ESP) Cervelo Test Team in .34:10 at 3:30
83. Thor Hushovd (NOR) Cervelo Test Team in .34:10 at …
84. Chris Baldwin (USA) Rock Racing in .34:11 at 3:31
85. Daniel Oss (ITA) Liquigas in .34:16 at 3:36
86. Patrick Mccarty Jonathan (USA) Ouch Presented By Maxxis in .34:18 at 3:38
87. Sebastian Haedo Lucas (ARG) Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in .34:19 at 3:39
88. Davide Frattini (ITA) Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in .34:27 at 3:47
89. Jeffry Louder (USA) Bmc Racing Team in .34:30 at 3:50
90. Mark Renshaw (AUS) Team Columbia-High Road in .34:31 at 3:51
91. Trent Lowe (AUS) Garmin-Slipstream in .34:35 at 3:55
92. Steven Cozza (USA) Garmin-Slipstream in .34:36 at 3:56
93. Tyler Hamilton (USA) Rock Racing in .34:41 at 4:01
94. Curtis Gunn (USA) Fly V Australia P/b Successful Living Foundation in .34:43 at 4:03
95. Kiel Reijnen (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team in .34:49 at 4:09
96. Steve Morabito (SUI) Astana in .34:56 at 4:16
97. Phillip Gaimon (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling Team in .35:08 at 4:28
98. Andy Guptill (USA) Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in .35:09 at 4:29
99. Kjell CarlstrÖm (FIN) Liquigas in .35:26 at 4:46
100. Aaron Olson (USA) Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in .35:38 at 4:58
101. Alessandro Vanotti (ITA) Liquigas in .35:47 at 5:07
102. Stéphane Goubert (FRA) Ag2r La Mondiale in .35:59 at 5:19
103. Ben Day (AUS) Fly V Australia P/b Successful Living Foundation in .36:04 at 5:24
104. Francesco Chicchi (ITA) Liquigas in .36:09 at 5:29
105. Freddy Rodriguez (USA) Rock Racing in .36:13 at 5:33
106. Jacopo Guarnieri (ITA) Liquigas in .36:29 at 5:49

GC standings | ( Stage results )

1. Levi Leipheimer Astana in 24.12:00
2. David Zabriskie Garmin-Slipstream in 24.12:36
3. Michael Rogers Team Columbia-High Road in 24.12:46 at 46
4. Jens Voigt Team Saxo Bank in 24.13:10 at 1:10
5. Thomas LÖvkvist Team Columbia-High Road in 24.13:29 at 1:29
6. Lance Armstrong Astana in 24.13:46 at 1:46
7. Robert Gesink Rabobank in 24.13:54 at 1:54
8. Janez Brajkovic Astana in 24.13:59 at 1:59
9. Christopher Horner Astana in 24.14:13 at 2:13
10. Francisco Mancebo Rock Racing in 24.14:15 at 2:15
11. Vincenzo Nibali Liquigas in 24.14:21 at 2:21
12. Thomas Danielson Garmin-Slipstream in 24.14:24 at 2:24
13. José Luis Rubiera Vigil Astana in 24.14:48 at 2:48
14. Kevin Seeldraeyers Quick Step in 24.14:57 at 2:57
15. Oscar Sevilla Rock Racing in 24.15:37 at 3:37
16. Walle Jurgen Van De Quick Step in 24.16:15 at 4:15
17. Bauke Mollema Rabobank in 24.17:44 at 5:44
18. Grischa Niermann Rabobank in 24.18:08 at 6:08
19. Fränk Schleck Team Saxo Bank in 24.18:22 at 6:22
20. Gustav Larsson Team Saxo Bank in 24.18:25 at 6:25
21. George Hincapie Team Columbia-High Road in 24.18:35 at 6:35
22. Lopez De Castro Inigo Cuesta Cervelo Test Team in 24.18:56 at 6:56
23. Ben Jacques-maynes Bissell Pro Cycling in 24.18:56 at 6:56
24. Christian Vandevelde Garmin-Slipstream in 24.19:13 at 7:13
25. Carlos Barredo Quick Step in 24.19:18 at 7:18
26. Luis Romero Amaran Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in 24.19:25 at 7:25
27. Tom Zirbel Bissell Pro Cycling in 24.19:32 at 7:32
28. Enrique Gutierrez Rock Racing in 24.19:55 at 7:55
29. Yaroslav Popovych Astana in 24.20:16 at 8:16
30. Ian Mckissick Bmc Racing Team in 24.20:32 at 8:32
31. Hayden Roulston Cervelo Test Team in 24.20:45 at 8:45
32. Thomas Peterson Garmin-Slipstream in 24.20:52 at 8:52
33. Thomas Frei Bmc Racing Team in 24.21:55 at 9:55
34. Kevin De Weert Quick Step in 24.21:56 at 9:56
35. Pieter Weening Rabobank in 24.22:18 at 10:18
36. Floyd Landis Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 24.22:26 at 10:26
37. Hubert Dupont Ag2r La Mondiale in 24.22:47 at 10:47
38. Dominique Rollin Cervelo Test Team in 24.23:14 at 11:14
39. Martin Elmiger Ag2r La Mondiale in 24.23:32 at 11:32
40. Frank Pipp Bissell Pro Cycling in 24.24:05 at 12:05
41. Jeremy Vennell Bissell Pro Cycling in 24.24:22 at 12:22
42. Steven Cozza Garmin-Slipstream in 24.25:04 at 13:04
43. Will Routley Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 24.25:25 at 13:25
44. Stuart O’grady Team Saxo Bank in 24.27:55 at 15:55
45. Jason Mccartney Team Saxo Bank in 24.28:17 at 16:17
46. Svein Tuft Garmin-Slipstream in 24.28:36 at 16:36
47. Glen Chadwick Rock Racing in 24.30:44 at 18:44
48. Cameron Evans Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 24.31:04 at 19:04
49. Andy Schleck Team Saxo Bank in 24.31:12 at 19:12
50. Patrick Mccarty Jonathan Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 24.31:22 at 19:22
51. Davide Frattini Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in 24.31:27 at 19:27
52. Rory Sutherland Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 24.32:11 at 20:11
53. Stéphane Goubert Ag2r La Mondiale in 24.32:18 at 20:18
54. Alexandre Moos Bmc Racing Team in 24.32:31 at 20:31
55. Matthew Crane Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 24.32:52 at 20:52
56. Valeriy Kobzarenko Team Type 1 in 24.35:46 at 23:46
57. Tom Boonen Quick Step in 24.36:14 at 24:14
58. Rinaldo Nocentini Ag2r La Mondiale in 24.36:21 at 24:21
59. Thor Hushovd Cervelo Test Team in 24.36:37 at 24:37
60. Gregory Rast Astana in 24.36:56 at 24:56
61. Markus Zberg Bmc Racing Team in 24.37:08 at 25:08
62. Tyler Wren Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in 24.37:37 at 25:37
63. Timothy Johnson Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 24.38:05 at 26:05
64. Steve Morabito Astana in 24.39:27 at 27:27
65. Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano Rabobank in 24.39:53 at 27:53
66. Sebastian Haedo Lucas Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in 24.39:54 at 27:54
67. Matthew Wilson Team Type 1 in 24.40:20 at 28:20
68. Mathias Frank Bmc Racing Team in 24.40:54 at 28:54
69. Addy Engels Quick Step in 24.41:02 at 29:02
70. Christopher Jones Team Type 1 in 24.41:03 at 29:03
71. Bradley White Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 24.41:17 at 29:17
72. Brian Vandborg Liquigas in 24.41:32 at 29:32
73. Stef Clement Rabobank in 24.42:41 at 30:41
74. Serge Pauwels Cervelo Test Team in 24.43:24 at 31:24
75. Trent Lowe Garmin-Slipstream in 24.43:51 at 31:51
76. Mark Cavendish Team Columbia-High Road in 24.43:58 at 31:58
77. Bernard Van Ulden Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 24.44:17 at 32:17
78. Michael Barry Team Columbia-High Road in 24.44:29 at 32:29
79. Brett Lancaster Cervelo Test Team in 24.44:46 at 32:46
80. Pedro Horrillo Munoz Rabobank in 24.44:53 at 32:53
81. Nick Reistad Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 24.45:01 at 33:01
82. Aaron Olson Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in 24.45:05 at 33:05
83. José Haedo Juan Team Saxo Bank in 24.45:17 at 33:17
84. Marco Velo Quick Step in 24.45:17 at 33:17
85. Peter Latham Bissell Pro Cycling in 24.45:30 at 33:30
86. Mark Renshaw Team Columbia-High Road in 24.45:36 at 33:36
87. Christophe Riblon Ag2r La Mondiale in 24.45:44 at 33:44
88. Tyler Farrar Garmin-Slipstream in 24.45:48 at 33:48
89. Chris Baldwin Rock Racing in 24.46:26 at 34:26
90. Phillip Gaimon Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 24.46:35 at 34:35
91. Kevin Hulsmans Quick Step in 24.46:50 at 34:50
92. Kiel Reijnen Jelly Belly Cycling Team in 24.47:01 at 35:01
93. Kjell CarlstrÖm Liquigas in 24.47:13 at 35:13
94. Tyler Hamilton Rock Racing in 24.47:38 at 35:38
95. Ben Day Fly V Australia P/b Successful Living Foundation in 24.48:16 at 36:16
96. Curtis Gunn Fly V Australia P/b Successful Living Foundation in 24.48:28 at 36:28
97. Adam Hansen Team Columbia-High Road in 24.48:28 at 36:28
98. Jeffry Louder Bmc Racing Team in 24.48:42 at 36:42
99. Carlos Sastre Candil Cervelo Test Team in 24.49:09 at 37:09
100. Karl Menzies Ouch Presented By Maxxis in 24.49:28 at 37:28
101. Daniel Oss Liquigas in 24.51:09 at 39:09
102. Andy Guptill Colavita/sutter Home P/b Cooking Light in 24.53:28 at 41:28
103. Alessandro Vanotti Liquigas in 24.53:58 at 41:58
104. Freddy Rodriguez Rock Racing in 24.54:12 at 42:12
105. Jacopo Guarnieri Liquigas in 24.54:44 at 42:44
106. Francesco Chicchi Liquigas in 24.55:51 at 43:51

FILED UNDER: Amgen Tour of California / Race Report / Race Results / Road

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