Levi Leipheimer leads 2008 Tour of California
Rabobank?s Robert Gesink wins stage 3 as challenging day separates riders and shakes up remaining general classification leaders.
(GBR), a former world time trial champion; and reigning world champion Fabian Cancellara (SUI) of Team CSC.
Despite the ferocious charge from the chasers, Leipheimer held a 19-second lead when he hit the line on the wheel of Gesink. Jurgen Vandewalle (BEL) of QuickStep took the bunch sprint to place third. After tabulating the times, Cancellara stood in second overall, just 13 seconds behind Leipheimer. The stage also propelled Gesink, who was the overall best young rider in the 2007 Amgen Tour of California, into third overall, just 15 seconds behind Leipheimer.
?We knew that today was going to be important,? said Leipheimer. ?I think this stage was the hardest stage in the three-year history of the Amgen Tour of California. It was a day with a few tough, but really beautiful, climbs. The Mt. Hamilton climb turned out to be really hard, and our team had something to prove today.?
In addition to the stage win, Gesink also took the Union Bank of California Best Young Rider Jersey. Today's California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountain Jersey was awarded to Nydam. Heinrich Haussler (GER) of Gerolsteiner took the Herballife Sprint Leader Jersey. Hincapie was awarded the Tachyon Most Aggressive Rider.
Eight riders failed to cross the finish line within the qualifying time and were eliminated from the race.
?Today was a major test for the riders. Even this early in the racing season, this incredibly high level of competition here at the Amgen Tour of California, not only inspired the tremendous crowds, they inspired the entire peloton,? said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. ?What?s truly exciting is that with four days of competition still to come, no fewer than ten riders could win the race this Sunday in Pasadena.?
Title sponsor Amgen is continuing its complementary Breakaway from Cancer? initiative in 2008.
?For more than 25 years, Amgen has tapped the power of pioneering science and innovation to discover and develop vital medicines to help in the fight against cancer and other serious illnesses,? said David Lacey, senior vice president of Discovery Research, Amgen. ?That?s why Amgen is proud to sponsor the Amgen Tour of California again in its third year as a vehicle to further empower cancer patients and their families with education and hope through the Breakaway from Cancer initiative.?
Be sure to check out our audio interview with Team High Road star George Hincapie - and do visit and support out sponsors.