Discovery Channel’s new golden boy, Levi Leipheimer, proved today why his sponsors made the right ch
PIC BY GARY J. BOULANGER In today’s crucial race against the clock, 2007 Amgen Tour of California race leader Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) rose to the challenge of Jens Voigt (Team CSC) and surpassed everyone’s effort to claim the stage, holding onto the coveted golden leader’s jersey another day. Voigt finished 18 seconds behind Leipheimer, and kept second place overall. Powerhouse teams Discovery Channel and Team CSC grabbed nine of the top 10 places in the 14.5-mile stage 5 time trial in Solvang, CA, flexing their muscles in a showing highly reflective of what’s to come this season. Discovery has shown no signs of cracking, and Team CSC has been breathing down their necks the entire race. With two stages remaining, Team CSC will meet tonight to consider their options. “If we really want to turn the whole thing around that means you gotta basically unleash hell on everybody,” Voigt said. “It’s going to be something like flat out from the start Saturday; it depends if we feel like we’re ready for that.” Today’s result answers the climax of the 2006 Tour of Germany, in which Voigt beat Leipheimer in the final time trial to win the race. “We have a good natured rivalry,” Leipheimer said at the post-race press conference. “I said to Jens ‘we’re in California now, and today it’s my turn.'” Current time trial world champion and Team CSC teammate Fabian Cancellara (Swi), rode to a strong fourth place. It’s anyone’s guess where Voigt and Cancellara’s American teammate David Zabriskie would’ve been at this stage in the race if he didn’t abandon after his stage one crash. “Every day I give my best,” Voigt added. “Eighteen seconds just means Levi was just a little bit stronger than me. With two or three seconds you can say ‘ah, maybe I should have taken the corners a little faster.’ But 18 seconds, I was just missing a little bit. But it’s only February, it’s early in the season and there are several races to come, so I’m looking forward to that.” As this was a time trial, the lead of the California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountains (KOM) competition did not change, with Credit Agricole’s Christophe Laurent (Fra) remaining at the front with 26 points. The Herbalife Sprinter’s competition also maintains yesterday’s results, with Team CSC’s JJ Haedo (Arg) keeping the lead with 28 points. In the Union Bank Best Young Rider competition, Rabobank’s Robert Gesink (Ned) took a commanding lead of 41 seconds over Predictor-Lotto’s Matthew Lloyd (Aus). Thomas Peterson (USA), riding for Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle, is in third. Stage 5 Solvang Time Trial results 1 Levi Leipheimer (USA, Discovery Channel) 29:40.44 2 Jens Voigt (Ger, Team CSC) 0:00:18 3 Jason McCartney (USA, Discovery Channel) 0:00:24 4 Fabian Cancellara (Swi, Team CSC) 0:00:37 5 George Hincapie (USA, Discovery Channel) 0:00:40 6 Bobby Julich (USA, Team CSC) 0:00:41 7 Christian Vande Velde (USA, Team CSC) 0:00:56 8 Stuart O’Grady (Aus, Team CSC) 0:00:59 9 Ivan Basso (Ita, Discovery Channel) 0:01:02.57 10 Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA, Priority Health) 0:01:14.17 General Classification after stage 5 1 Levi Leipheimer (USA, Discovery Channel) 18:21:52 2 Jens Voigt (Ger, Team CSC) 0:00:21 3 Jason McCartney (USA, Discovery Channel) 0:00:54 4 Bobby Julich (USA, Team CSC) 0:01:06 5 Stuart O’Grady (Aus, Team CSC) 0:01:20 6 Christian Vande Velde (USA, Team CSC) 0:01:24 7 Michael Rogers (Aus, T-Mobile) 0:01:34 8 Ben Day (Aus, Navigators) 0:01:38 9 Franco Pellizotti (Ita, Liquigas) 0:01:41 10 Ryder Hesjedal (Can, Health Net -Maxxis) 0:01:57 Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.