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Leipheimer and Tour of California are golden

A happy Levi Leipheimer smiles after his third win in the Tour of California

A happy Levi Leipheimer smiles after his third win in the Tour of California (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

By Laura Weislo in Escondido, California

After wrapping up his third win in a row in the Tour of California, American Levi Leipheimer seemed to be giving a press conference about the biggest victory of his career. It certainly may not have been his most prestigious win, but the rider and the race have grown in prominence and popularity over the past four years, and the importance of this year's Tour of California cannot be underestimated.

Leipheimer has stood upon the podium at the end of three Grand Tours (the 2001 and 2008 Vuelta a España, 2007 Tour de France), won the Dauphiné Libéré (2006) and last year earned an Olympic bronze.

His two previous wins in California came with increasing fanfare, but with the return of one Lance Armstrong to the peloton, the attention surrounding the race grew to a fevered pitch, making Leipheimer's triple title headline news. Leipheimer, a California resident, was hard pressed to put the sensation of this year's win into words.

"I've been trying in my head to think about how to articulate and convey the feelings I've got. It's tough. To win it once, that was huge. To win it twice, it was a little bit of a surprise and felt like I was a little lucky. Now I've won it three times - it's the sweetest of the three and it's hard to describe that."

Read the full feature on Leipheimer's win.

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