Back to the fold
Levi Leipheimer's immediate focus is the defence of his Deutschland Tour title, but he is also hoping that a change of team will bring increased success in the Tour de France and other races next year. In this two-part feature, Leipheimer spoke to Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes about his German tour defence, signing for his new team and his ride in the 2006 Tour.
Although the Tour de France didn't work out as well as he had hoped this year, Levi Leipheimer is looking to the future with increased motivation after his signing for the Discovery Channel squad. The American has achieved strong results with the Rabobank and Gerolsteiner teams, finishing eighth, ninth and sixth in recent Tours, and is convinced that his move back to the squad he competed with when it was sponsored by the US Postal Service will enable him to step up another notch.
The 32-year-old says that he is happy with the signing, which was announced just after the end of this year's Tour on July 23, "I am very excited," he told Cyclingnews last Wednesday. "That is where I started my career, in Europe at least, and I think that is where I made the biggest progress, during that time. I am looking forward to going back. I have learned a lot over the past five years, but I'm looking forward to having the expertise and experience of Johan [Bruyneel] and the team behind me."
Leipheimer finished third in the 2001 Vuelta a España and then moved to lead the Rabobank squad in 2002. However he has maintained contact with the American team since then and, with Discovery looking for a new leader, his strong consistency in the Tour plus his victories in the 2005 Deutschland Tour and 2006 Dauphiné Libéré marked him out as a good choice.
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