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Huge rabbits and a huge win

By:
Cycling News
Published:
August 23, 2005, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:10 BST

It's not over until it's over so they say, but no matter what happens tomorrow it's been a fun ride...

Tour of Germany - August 22, 2005

It's not over until it's over so they say, but no matter what happens tomorrow it's been a fun ride so far. I've been having a great race personally here in Germany but my team has been so strong and supportive for the entire race. I owe it all to them.

It's been some epic racing. At one point I was wearing three rain jackets at once on top of other layers of clothing. We've had our share of cold and rain here at the tour of Germany, but the cool thing is that the Germans still come out in full force to cheer us on, rain or shine. Something even cooler is that they've been playing that California song ('The OC' theme) at the start and finish every day and it just so happens that I am mere days away from returning home to California. It's been another long season and I can't wait to get home. In a few days I'll be in Sonoma County and that may be the only thing that can top the biggest win of my career. (If I win!)

It all started on the Austrian Rettenbachferner climb. I've always wanted to race on that climb and it happens to be this season's highest mountain top finish.

I was feeling great and my intention was to work for my teammate Georg Totchnig since it was his home region. In the end, however, I was feeling really strong so I figured I should get as much time as possible on Ullrich. It was bittersweet because as happy as I was to win, I felt bad about the situation. Georg was really great about it and he understood.

That climb was crazy difficult. We all rode 12/27 gearing and I was in the 27 for most of the time. At one point a guy on a mountain bike rode along side of us for a long time. It was pretty discouraging but it was testimony to how steep the road was. To our credit, the guy on the mountain bike hadn't raced all day, or at least I hope not. There were also huge rabbits running alongside of us. Men in rabbit costumes that is. Don't ask...I didn't.

Today was insane windy in the time trial. I was really motivated (obviously) but Jan had a great race and I was happy he won. There's not much else to say about a time trial other than that I went as hard as I could. I should get some rest now for tomorrow's final stage. I hope it goes well and I can return to California and end my European season on a good note. I have one last race in San Francisco and then it's time to hit the mountain bike trails and eat dessert.

Thanks for reading,
Levi

Author
Levi Leipheimer 05

Levi Leipheimer shot to prominence when he made the podium at the 2001 Vuelta while riding for US Postal. He spent three years at Rabobank before joining the German Gerolsteiner team for 2005, where he is one of the team's main men for stage race general classifications. Leipheimer has twice finished in the top ten at the Tour de France, and this year will aim higher if his form allows. "We'll have to wait and see," he says. Follow Levi's progress to the Tour and beyond on Cyclingnews.

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