Levi Leipheimer Interview

Interviews

08/29/2011| 0 comments
by Thomas A. Valentinsen
Roadcycling.com interviews Levi Leipheimer. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Roadcycling.com interviews Levi Leipheimer. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Levi Leipheimer Interview

Roadcycling.com's Thomas A. Valentinsen talks with Levi Leipheimer about his victory in the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, about riding on US soil, his 2011 season so far, and about his ambitions for the coming seasons.

Roadcycling.com's Thomas A. Valentinsen talks with Levi Leipheimer about his victory in the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, about riding on US soil, his 2011 season so far, and about his ambitions for the coming seasons.

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge has obviously been a very positive experience for you. Describe to our readers what thoughts and emotions you have experienced during the past week of racing and, not least, today.

"It's hard to put into words and to describe the emotions I've felt and the experience that I've had this week. This victory means so much to me because of the way we raced this week. It took the best form of my life to beat Christian (Vande Velde) and Tejay (Van Garderen). I had to produce some of the best races of my life and the team did a phenomenal job defending the jersey, it took every ounce of energy and motivation we had to pull it off."

How does the USA Pro Cycling Challenge compare to the Amgen Tour of California? Are they very similar races or does the terrain or state cultures influence the races a lot in your opinion?

"That is difficult. I'm a California guy, I live there. I won the first Prologue of the first Amgen Tour of California, so for me that was something extraordinary and when I got to the podium that first day in my hometown of Santa Rosa I was very emotional. At the same time, I didn't expect the USA Pro Cycling Challenge to be so grand on a scale. The crowds, the media attention, the way we raced this week, the way the jersey changed hands: it was a battle tooth-and-nail to the last corner. It's tough to compare the two - we have two huge races in America and I hope they continue. It is fantastic for us to come back here and race on America soil. We've spent years battling it out in the trenches of Europe, so it's great to come back and bring the sport to America on a scale this big."

You have many years of experience with pro road cycling on the roads of Europe. In the past few years pro road cycling has gotten increasingly popular in the USA and the nation now has two well-established pro road cycling events. Does this development surprise you?

"I was 13 years old when I watched the Tour de France on television and I read magazines about the Coors Classic on these roads here in Colorado and the fights between Bernard Hinault, Greg LeMond and Andy Hampsten. To be here 25 years later and to experience the size and the scope of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge is just beyond my expectations. I didn't expect this many people to come out. Today has been the biggest crowd that I've seen in the US and that is really saying something because the Amgen Tour of California has produced some enormous crowds. Today really raised the bar for American cycling."

With the exception of the Tour de

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