By Hedwig Kröner in Gap
With team captain Levi Leipheimer down to 15th placing on general classification, his German team Gerolsteiner will be looking to find openings for him during the final week of the race in order to salvage a little of their initial podium aspirations. Cyclingnews spoke to Gerolsteiner's DS Christian Henn on the Tour's second rest day. Henn told us that Leipheimer's form was good, but that a top five overall finish at this Tour was going to be difficult.
"Levi is about six minutes off Landis, so it will be hard for him to achieve a placing within the Top five," Henn said. "There will be some riders catching up, as well, and I don't think he will be able to put time into guys like Landis, Menchov and Klöden in the time trial."
Looking back on the race until now, the former pro said, "The first time trial was bad, but we still don't know why. I was behind him in the team car, and it certainly looked good. We've tried to analyse what went wrong, but there was no reason, really. So we hope he'll be better in Mâcon."
But Leipheimer is first and foremost a climber, rather than a time triallist. "The one decisive stage in the Pyrenees went great for him," Henn added. "Tomorrow, in L'Alpe d'Huez, he will have to be up front. There is also a possibility that the race goes on like this, uncontrolled, with Phonak not being able to guard it. We still have Totschnig, and Fothen, who could take advantage of such a situation for Levi."