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Levi Leipheimer Quietly Wins Stage 2, Takes Lead of Vuelta Ciclista Castilla y León 2009 Over Alberto Contador, David Zabriskie

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Fast becoming a favorite for many USA fans of cycling, Levi Leipheimer showed the dignified way to the front today. Noted for his diligent work ethic and quiet but friendly manner, Levi is not the first to be talked about when the likes of Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador are around. While gifted, surely, many feel he has to work harder, so he's often considered an underdog even when he should get attention as the leader. Today was an example, and all I can do is repeat that I hope he's never even suspected of doping, because he sure is a fine example of dignity in victory for me.

With all the speculation over Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador, few had said out loud, "Hey wait a second. Perhaps Levi will be stronger than Contador." Today he was, by a slim margin. We'll see what happens in the mountains, but in the 28 km time trial, Leipheimer took the stage and the overall lead over Alberto Contador of Spain and David Zabriskie of the United States.

It's another very strong showing for Contador, who has only recently been considered a time trial threat, to come in ahead of the always excellent time trailer, Zabriske. It very well may have happened without Lance Armstrong crashing, but today, Levi Leipheimer quietly came to the front of the Castilla y León by placing first in the Stage 2 Time Trial. With a time of 33:17 for the He came in ahead of Alberto Contador, David Zabriskie Stef Clement and Denis Menchov.

As is so often the case, perhaps the highlight of the day was seeing the sights near Palencia, especially the Giant Jesus called Cristo del Otero as shown at http://www.panoramio.com/photo/92409 (awesome website of geocoded photos). 

Cristo del Otero

The helicopter camera circled around Cristo del Otero while we were waiting for the jesey ceremonies to begin. Live video was available on http://www.rtvcyl.es/ from 10:30 EDT. 

Preliminary results from velonews.com:

Stage 2:
1. Levi Leipheimer (USA/Astana), 28.2 km in 33:17 (average: 50.836 kph)
2. Alberto Contador (ESP) at 16s.
3. David Zabriskie (USA) at 22s.
4. Stef Clement (NED) at 49s.
5. Denis Menchov (RUS) at 55s.

General Classification:
1. Levi Leipheimer (USA) 5:05:10.
2. Alberto Contador (ESP) at 16s.
3. David Zabriskie (USA) at 22s.
4. Stef Clement (NED) at 49s.
5. Denis Menchov (RUS) at 55s.

Results as on originally on steehill.tv and cyclingnews.com

Stage 2 Time Trial Results...
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana                  33:17
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana                  0:18
3 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream        0:22
4 Denis Menchov (Spa) Rabobank                   0:55

General classification after stage 2
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana                5.05:10
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana                  0:18
3 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream        0:22
4 Denis Menchov (Spa) Rabobank                   0:55

A nice article on velonews had this quote from Leipheimer:

“Yesterday I was also disappointed for Lance. I felt a little bit depressed because we were having a great time together,” said Leipheimer, who won in 33 minutes, 17 seconds (50.836kph). “I was also a little bit disappointed yesterday, so it’s nice to win today and I hope that he can share a little bit of the victory and motivation to come back.”

The article explains...

A brisk tailwind pushed the riders toward a small climb at the Alto de Autilla at 17.4km and then it was a strong headwind back to the finish line.


“Like Johan said, maybe the wind picked up more. That’s what I thought yesterday, that the wind gets stronger,” Leipheimer said. “I also finish stronger. I am not so good in the beginning. I always go like this.”


"If I can follow the best or Alberto can follow the best, it’s good we have we have the first two, it gives us a better chance to win."

The article has a great intro to the rest of the race, and good info on the dynamics (plus some non-English word order in the direct quotes from Levi...funny), and a quote from Alberto, who now may be expected to support Levi rather than win the home-country race (but I think the team may honor the fact that he is on home turf...we'll see):

“It will be difficult to try to think about winning,” Contador said. “Now I will try to help my teammate, who has taken control of the leader’s jersey. The rac e will be wide open. We can expect attacks.”

This race has been much more difficult to follow, but it is interesting. It is a shame so little is shared with the world, including the USA. The tourism generated by free and open source video would be considerable, I believe, and far more valuable than the pittance they must get for the rights in the USA...but impossible to measure, so therefore undervalued, perhaps. I am sure it is another case of rights administration and control that keeps us from being able to just log in to a website and watch it live or "as live" all day. Oh yeah, I guess you could do that by subscription, ha. 


Rtvcyl.es says "Emisiones: Martes 24, Miércoles 25, Viernes 27 » 15:30 h. / Jueves 26 » 14:30 h. (GMT+1)"

So on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, the video feed should start at 10:30 EDT; on Wednesday, it starts an hour earlier at 9:30 EDT.


[As I typed my original piece there was some dude in a heather gray tee shirt who had put on the headphones, was out of breath somewhat, and was counting in Spanish in the "th" for soft "c" way. He apparently had an accomplice to aim the camera, and it was unclear if this were to be an official broadcast or just some guy getting his 15 minutes or less of fame. Ah. There was a cut to black. Silence.]



Vuelta Ciclista Castilla y León 2009 Stage 2 Palencia, Palencia
42° 0' 44.8488" N, 4° 31' 52.23" W
Cristo del Otero
42° 1' 42.2976" N, 4° 31' 45.7356" W


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Final Stage Live

Levi still leads, with Contador close behind, then Zabriskie, at the same differentials as before. If you want to see a bit, check out this page after 10:30 a.m. today. http://www.justin.tv/feria_tv

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