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Leipheimer confirms for Astana

Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel)

Levi Leipheimer (Discovery Channel) (Image credit:

By Susan Westemeyer

Levi Leipheimer is celebrating his 34th birthday today with a present to himself -- a two-year contract with Team Astana, where he will be joining Discovery Channel team-mates and team manager Johan Bruyneel. Yesterday Tour de France winner and Discovery Channel rider Alberto Contador announced that he had also signed with Astana.

Leipheimer won the Tour of California and the US national road title this year, as well as finishing third in the Tour de France.

"A lot of that has to do with Johan and the staff and how comfortable I am with them," Leipheimer said, according to ESPN. "It works for me, so why should I change it? It's not the exact same riders, but there will be the same philosophy and understanding there."

He added that he was looking forward to contesting the Tour de France with another strong team. "I've had a steady progression, and I got to the point this year where I feel like I can win the Tour," he said. "We'll go in next year like we did this year. We'll have a defending champion and another guy who can win it. You have to keep your options open, but it's better to have two guys who can win the Tour than just one."

The Montana native who now has homes in Santa Rosa, California, and Girona, Spain, said that he was not put off by the team's doping scandals this season. "I'm certainly not going to give up because of what's happened," he said. "The sport is changing for the better, going in the right direction, and I'm excited to see that."

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