Tue, Aug 30, 2011 - Page 18 News List

RadioShack’s Levi Leipheimer triumphs in Colorado

AP, DENVER, COLORADO

Levi Leipheimer of the US won the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and his third stage race title this year with a seventh-place finish on Sunday’s sixth stage.

Daniel Oss, who rides for the Italian Liquigas team, won the 114.1km final stage of the inaugural event in 2 hours, 27 minutes, 8 seconds.

Leipheimer, a Montana native who lives in Santa Rosa, California, and competes for RadioShack, assumed his second race lead with a slim victory in the stage 3 time trial and led the race for five of its seven days.

Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervelo) finished second overall, trailing by 11 seconds, while Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad) finished third, 17 seconds behind.

“The victory means so much to me, mainly because of the way we raced,” said Leipheimer, who earlier this month won the six-day Tour of Utah and in June won the nine-day Tour of Switzerland, the biggest win of his 15-year professional career. “It took some of the best form of my life to beat Christian and Tejay. I took the [leader’s] jersey, I lost the jersey. I had to race one of the best time trial’s of my life to get it back and keep it. It took every ounce of energy I had.”

Elia Viviani (Liquigas) of Italy, victorious on stage 4 and stage 5, was second in the finale.

Fred Rodriguez of the US, a former three-time national road champion, was third.

The event featured 17 teams and a starting field of 130 in Colorado Springs that included reigning Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, as well as brothers Andy and Frank Schleck, who placed second and third in the Tour de France last month.

Evans, who had not competed in the US since 2006, finished seventh overall, trailing by 1 minute, 18 seconds. Frank Schleck placed 13th overall, with Andy Schleck 34th.

Leipheimer, who placed third in the 2007 Tour de France, was among four teammates predicted as top contenders in this year’s Tour de France . None of the contenders found success, with Leipheimer the only finisher, 32nd overall, the lowest of his seven Tour de France finishes in nine attempts.

“Four or five crashes will set you back, but I refocused and had some other goals, like the Tour of Utah and here in Colorado,” Leipheimer said.

Leipheimer is also an accomplished mountain biker who won the Leadville 100 last year, breaking the course record set by former teammate Lance Armstrong the previous year.

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