Great guy, true professional

July 19, 2005

Hi everyone.

I had some much needed rest on the much needed rest day. I took some time to read over my diaries. The last one bothered me so I wanted to mention it now.

Sometimes when I write these things I'm really tired and can hardly formulate a proper thought. Anyway, in the last entry I didn't give George Hincapie enough credit. I mentioned his win but it didn't seem to come across the way it should have. So I should elaborate now that I can.

George deserves a lot of credit. He didn't seem to get any the other day from the press. He has spent more time in the wind during the last six tours than any other rider and he could easily finish in the top ten of the tour.

This would be great on it's own, but consider the fact that he also finishes in the top three in Roubaix - no other rider can do that.

He's the best climber on Discovery this year, aside from Lance. Today he pulled on Marie-Blanque and only eight riders were left, then he continued to stay with the best riders on the Aubisque.

I saved the most important and impressive part for the end. He's a really great guy, teammate, father and husband. He would give anyone the shirt off his back and he's a true professional. Everyone likes George, period.

So that's all I have to say today.

More on the race tomorrow,

July 17, 2005

Just surviving

Man, today was hard - I was so wasted at the finish. It was all about survival.

At the beginning of the stage we had a climb that was around five kilometres long. It wasn't even categorised. It was more difficult than any of the small climbs we did the first week, but today it wasn't even considered a climb on the course profile. It was on a tiny little road also so it strung out the field.

The break got away early and George sat on all day. It was a great day for him. To win a stage like today's would be really amazing. After we went over a couple climbs CSC started chasing hard and they broke things up for Basso. He was really strong today and he moved up so their tactics worked.

I lost a spot in the gc which sucks, but I did what I could. The crowds were closer than I have ever seen - I thought I was going to crash, and it's difficult to see where the road is going because of the people in front of you. It's insanity on those climbs.

Today it took us just as long to descend the climb on our bikes, as it did to climb it. It was really difficult to ride through all the people. Our bus parked at the bottom of the climb and then we had a long drive to the hotel. We didn't get here until 10.30pm. So that's when we ate and got massage. I'm so tired I can hardly concentrate. I hope I'm making sense.

Tomorrow is another rest day so I will not be seeing you but the day after should be another epic tour stage. It's not tough like today but I'm sure there will be lots of action. I'll see you then.

Thanks for reading,

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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.