Slightly controlled confusion and stress

July 3, 2005

Good evening, (or good morning) everyone,

I'm happy to report that I made it through the day with just a scratch on my knee!

At one point in the race today I felt like a pinball. I got tossed around between a guy who was crashing and my teammate Sebastian Lang, who unfortunately crashed as a result of my bumping into him. It was unavoidable and he is totally fine. The group had slowed down enough because of the crash which was taking place when I got bumped.

Another time I got tossed around and hit my knee on something which caused it to bleed - but I don't know why really. Then another time I had to clip out but didn't go down. The problem with the beginning of the tour is that we are all still fresh and everyone is nervous and stressed and getting good position in the peloton is a constant battle.

The race is the war but every day is another battle to stay upright, up front and out of the wind. On TV it looks like we're just rolling along peacefully but inside the peloton is a constant struggle.

Then there are the spectators.

I love the fans, don't get me wrong, but it's a matter of two different worlds passing each other dangerously. Today we had to navigate around a stroller and a wheelchair.

People come out to watch the race and some of them don't understand haw fast we're going and that we take up the entire road and that some of us are cross eyed. Sometimes we take up more than the entire road. A lady was standing there and she was off the road but her baby in the stroller was sticking out and it almost caused a crash. I mean, wasn't she worried about her baby?

There are times when you're so focused on moving up that you would never have time to react or go anywhere if something suddenly appeared in front of you on the road. People are relaxed and enjoying themselves waiting for the race to come in the hot sun and we come whizzing by on a narrow road in a massive ball of slightly controlled confusion and stress - our average speed today was 47.04 km/h.

Our team has our very own chef at this race which is so cool. Normally the food at races is pretty bad. We're eating like kings this time, and man is it nice! Real vegetables and perfectly prepared pasta. It makes a big difference in a race as long as the tour. So I'm afraid I don't have much else to say about today's stage.

As some of you may or may not know, things start to get a lot more interesting for me personally, when we hit the climbs. Until then I'll still keep you informed on how I see the race from the inside.

See you back here tomorrow,

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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.