With his first Team RadioShack training camp under his belt, Levi Leipheimer is ready to embark on the 2010 season. However the three-time Tour of California winner will be easing himself into the season and unlike the last three years, he will make his racing debut in Europe.
Leipheimer spent 10 days of December at the team's training camp in Tucson, Arizona, and despite an illustrious career with teams like USPS, Rabobank, Gerolsteiner and Astana, he was still excited about pulling on another new jersey. "It was great. As far as training goes, it was low key. It was mainly about getting together, meeting new riders, sponsors and getting our new bikes and equipment," he said to Cyclingnews.
"There were lots of logistical things to get out of the way so we can start the new year dialled in."
Unlike his experience at Rabobank and Gerolsteiner, Leipheimer will be racing alongside Lance Armstrong once again, as they he did in Astana colours last year. Leipheimer is still taken aback by how much publicity and media interest the seven-time Tour winner receives.
"The biggest difference was having Lance around and the attention on the team, there's a lot more media. Everything that goes on around him and Livestrong requires a lot more work than anything I've ever seen before. He's a busy guy, but RadioShack wouldn't be a team without Lance."
Despite the media distractions, Leipheimer reaffirmed his racing goals and confirmed that the Tour of California is his biggest goal of the season. But with a new race date, the American has had to restructure his training programme. Leipheimer is one of the best riders at starting out strongly in the season, yet May’s new race date has meant that he has started 2010 in a much slower fashion, shying away from an early peak in form.
"I have to structure my season differently and am starting out a little slower and in Europe. I can't be in the same form I was in February as I was in previous years. That means I'm not training as hard right now."
"I've trained very consistently for the last four year. I can handle a bigger training load more, the older you get the more you can do. I don't know if that's a mental or a physical thing, but I seem to be able to knock out the training more easily in my head and in my body. That's fun. I love to get out there and do rides that seem daunting when you're looking at them but when you're done you feel like you've really accomplished something. I like that part of my job."