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Leipheimer springs to stage win and lead at Mount Crested Butte

  • By VeloNews.com
  • Published Aug. 23, 2011
  • Updated Aug. 24, 2011 at 8:02 AM EST

The lead group goes over Monarch Pass. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

MOUNT CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. (VN) — RadioShack’s Levi Leipheimer surprised even himself by outkicking an elite group of front runners to win the first stage of the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge and take the lead away from prologue winner Patrick Gretsch.

In the final 500 meters of the high-altitude finish hill coming into this ski and mountain bike resort, Leipheimer saw an opening in the front group containing Cadel Evans, the Schleck brothers, Robert Gesink and Tour of Utah hero Sergio Henao. Both Schlecks had put out feeler attacks earlier on the hill, while Evans appeared well positioned.

But it was Leipheimer who kicked near the steepest part of the climb and quickly opened a gap. Henao gained on a slowing Leipheimer in the final 75 meters, but by then the RadioShack man knew he had the stage win and a 10-second time bonus.

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“In my old age, I’m learning some new tricks,” said Leipheimer, who said he had never won a stage in quite this manner.

Evans was quick to credit Leipheimer for the win.

“Today, the strongest guy won,” Evans said. “Levi sat quiet and waited and waited and then put it all on the line in the last 500 meters. Chapeau to him. He was well-prepared and is riding well. The guys who are well-adapted and acclimatized to the altitude are always going to be at an advantage. I’m just sort of taking it as it comes.”

Stage 1

  • 1. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack in 4:29:22
  • 2. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Gobernacion De Antioquia – Indeportes Antiquia 0:00:04
  • 3. Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:00:07
  • 4. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
  • 5. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo

GC

  • 1. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack 4:37:47
  • 2. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:00:11
  • 3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad 0:00:17
  • 4. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
  • 5. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:30

Complete results

FILED UNDER: News / Road / USA Pro Cycling Challenge TAGS: /

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