Levi Leipheimer Retains Tour of California Lead

News & Results

02/21/2007| 0 comments
by Thomas Valentinsen

Levi Leipheimer Retains Tour of California Lead

Governor Schwarzenegger Awards Leader Jersey To Levi Leipheimer, Who Retains Lead After Amgen Tour Of
California

Sacramento
Finish.

Local favorite Michael Sayers, a Sacramento cyclist for newly formed BMC Racing, finished last today following a minor crash at the start of the finishing circuits.

"I just want to thank Sacramento for having the race here? This is a great day for me and for bike racing," said an emotional Sayers at the press conference. "Sacramento is a good cycling town, and I always knew this town would be supportive of cycling. I knew that everyone would turn out in tremendous numbers, and they made us proud today."

The race was marked by a long breakaway of more than 80 miles that included only three riders: Credit Agricole's Christoph Laurent (FRA), the Irish national champion David McCann (Colavita-Sutter Homes), and Priority Health's Omer Kem, 24, of Salem, Oregon.

Laurent was the main protagonist, taking two King of the Mountains climbs, and both sprints the group encountered along the way. However, soon after initiating the breakaway, on the formidable Category 2 climb of Trinity Grade, the Frenchman realized that the breakaway would likely not succeed.

Laurent announced himself as a contender for the King of the Mountain jersey, saying that the battle for the coveted California Travel and Tourism ?sunshine? jersey has just begun.

?This was a really beautiful stage today, and there were so many cheering fans out watching the race in every small town and village. When I was on the Trinity Grade climb, it felt like I was in the Tour de France!,? said Laurent.

In the King of the Mountain Classification there was no leadership change, with Team Slipstream's Thomas Peterson of North Bend, Wash., maintaining a three-point lead over Laurent and Quick Step-Innergetic's Jurgen Van de Walle (BEL).

In the Sprint Classification there was no leadership change, with Discovery Channel Pro's Allan Davis (AUS), still on top.

In the Best Young Rider Classification there was no leadership change, with Team Slipstream's Taylor Tolleson (USA), of Pacific Grove, Calif., holding the lead.

In addition to the 115.8 miles the peloton traveled, today?s ?Breakaway Mile? took place at the finish line prior to the exciting conclusion of the professional race. The one-mile ride was led by Sacramento-area cancer survivors Pam Grant and Dina Howard. Grant rode on a tandem bike paired with Amgen scientist Dr. Steve Elliott who plays a crucial role in developing innovative medicines, and Howard rode with her husband who was a critical support to her during her battle with breast cancer. Following the tandem bikes were each survivor?s peloton, comprised of caregivers, family members and health care professionals who supported their win against cancer.

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