Levi puts Rabo' days behind him

Levi Leipheimer may have lost the Dauphine TT by a single second but he is intent overall victory an

Levi Leipheimer may have lost the Dauphine TT by a single second but he is intent overall victory an
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Levi Leipheimer is looking good in the Dauphine's yellow jersey as the fearsome climb of the Ventoux looms on the horizon. Having lost the prologue to George Hincapie on Monday by just one second, Leipheimer felt he had a stage victory in him going into Wednesday's time trial in the Dauphin. And all along the 47 kilometres fight against the clock he kept talking to himself. "I kept pushing myself saying I don't want to lose by one second again," explained the American, who somehow came up with the same result, this time beaten by Santiago Botero by the same minimal margin. That was a huge disappointment, but then came the consolation. "I did lose again by one second, but taking the yellow jersey eased the pain," admitted Leipheimer. After finishing second in the Tour of Georgia, Leipheimer took a ten day break to recharge mentally followed by a very hard training period, which has apparently paid off. Whether this form is sufficient to earn him overall victory in the Dauphine, however, remains to be seen. "I'll take it day by day," said Leipheimer. But regarding the 2005 Tour he feels confident and most of all willing to go for broke. "After last year I told myself I want to finish in the top five - hopefully on the podium. I don't want to finish 8th or 9th again. If I'm in that position I'll risk more and maybe throw it all away to get a stage win," explained Leipheimer, who feels changing teams from Rabobank to Gerolsteiner has given him a fresh start. "I immediately got more motivated, also I've matured. Earlier I was not a leader. The Vuelta (in 2001) was my first three week race and I finished third. In my first Tour (in 2002) I finished 8th. I was a bit thrown into the fire going to the Tour for Rabo'. I wasn't scared, but it was a bit overwhelming. It takes a couple of years to feel comfortable riding with guys such as Armstrong and Ullrich," he explained. This time he got the better of Armstrong, beating him by 25 seconds in the time trial, but come the Tour he doesn't doubt the Texan's powers. "Even if he's a little behind at this time, I have no doubt he'll be at his best when the Tour is decided."
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