The Spanish cycling federation has expressed doubts over Levi Leipheimer's third place in the Olympic time trial. Leipheimer won the bronze medal eight seconds ahead of Spaniard Alberto Contador, who finished fourth-placed. But according to newspaper El País, Spanish federation officials thought that the handlebar extensions used by the American to achieve the bronze medal did not comply with UCI standards.
There was no immediate protest of the Spanish officials present because they could not access the finish area after the race. But since then, a discussion has started over the television footage of the event, with the Spaniards saying that the Bontrager extensions mounted on Leipheimer's bike had too much of a vertical angle.
But the cyclists used the same material, as they are both part of Johan Bruyneel's Astana squad. The team manager dismissed the claims. "It's a false impression," he said. "Leipheimer is quite flexible and therefore able to tuck his head far down between his arms. But the extensions are perfectly legal. We already used them in the Dauphiné Libéré in June, and there wasn't any problem."
The UCI's technical consultant Jean Wauthier said he could not assess the bike's regularity based on pictures only. "I only saw moving images of a rider, moreover from different angles," he said. "To judge on the conformity of the handlebars, you have to look at the bike directly, without the rider on it. If they let him start it's because the commissaire who examined the bike did not note anything strange, so you have to respect his criteria."