All for Levi

Levi Leipheimer was able to get himself into the 'fight for seconds' on the last climb of today's stage, the longest of the Tour. Gerolsteiner's team captain extended his lead over seventh place, after Cadel Evans' attack with the lead group on stage 16 and subsequent move up the general classification. Leipheimer remains in sixth overall, with a 2.03 minute advantage over Alexandre Vinokourov, who leap-frogged Evans into seventh and 7.35 behind race leader Lance Armstrong.

Leipheimer finished the stage 22.28 minutes behind winner Paolo Savoldelli, with the group including Armstrong, Vinokourov, Basso and Ullrich. "That one was a damn hard stage. I had said to Levi before the stage that he had to pay attention", said Gerolsteiner DS Hans-Michael Holczer post-stage, and the American captain of the German squad did so, holding firm in his position on gc.

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