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Levi Leipheimer's Tour of California diary - An overwhelming day

Stage 1 - February 20: Sausalito to Santa Rosa, 129.1km

Today was such a big day! I can't even describe it... I don't know what to say. We've got this huge race here in America which comes through my home town, with one of the best pelotons in the world - eight Pro Tour teams that compete in races like the Tour de France and riders who compete in all the big races are here. We've got guys like Gilberto Simoni, Paolo Savoldelli and Michael Rogers - it's an amazing peloton, and for me to come into my home town and lead the race is just fantastic. It's indescribable.

When I got on the podium I just didn't know what to say; normally I don't have a problem speaking but today I was a little bit overwhelmed to see all the people standing there cheering me on - it was unbelievable.

I told my team-mates today that the finishing circuits were technical, and I just wanted to stay among the first 10 riders at all times; I think we ended up being in the first five at all times. The circuit wasn't actually too bad - it turned out to be not as tight and technical as I thought it would be. It was a big day for me and the team today. They were really motivated and they saw that I was motivated after winning the prologue - any bike rider knows how special it is to lead a big race into their home town, and as such the guys were very committed to making that happen today.

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