"It's almost like in Germany," said Team Gerolsteiner manager Hans-Michael Holczer about the number of cycling fans lining the roads at the inaugural Tour of California, reporting back to his home base in Germany. "The public interest is huge, especially in Levi - he is a great hero here! There are signs with his name being held up everywhere."
Remembering the days during last year's Deutschland Tour in August, when Leipheimer led his Team Gerolsteiner to overall victory, Holczer also commented on the performance of the team during stage one of the Tour of California, where he hopes to achieve the same goal. "We took over the reigns on the front from the very first meter of the race and countered every attack," he added. "The guys rode sensationally well."
The only Gerolsteiner rider currently experiencing some difficulties is Fabian Wegmann, who has been suffering from stomach problems for the last few days. But instead of abandoning, the young climber chose to struggle through. "Fabian really tortured himself by continuing; he fought hard," Holzcer said. "Now we have to see how he'll cope and examine him further." Wegmann could be a valuable team mate for Leipheimer in the mountainous stages, for example stage two from Martinez to San José.