Leadville winner says he’s after stage wins in the Beehive State
Levi Leipheimer finished 10th in the prologue Tuesday at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. He later claimed that, despite his solid placing in the overall after day one, he would not compete for the general classification win during his first try at the event.
As he cooled down after the prologue Tuesday evening, Leipheimer told VeloNews that he would not contest the overall in Utah. “From the beginning, I’m not here to win the overall,” he said, three days after setting a new record in the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race in Colorado. “I think that would be stupid to try and win by your self. I’m just here to follow, get some good training in and look out for a stage win.”
Leipheimer entered his first Tour of Utah as a favorite in the GC and he remained solidly in contention after the opener. The former local resident sits in 10th overall, just 18 seconds off the pace set by Taylor Phinney (Trek-Livestrong) on the 2.8-mile course. He acknowledged, however, the fatigue he felt days after his win in the endurance mountain bike event, which took place above 10,000 feet.
“I kind of knew I wasn’t going to be good today. Leadville was a lot harder than I thought. I crashed pretty hard; I’m tired,” said Leipheimer. “I felt like a bit of a truck out there today, but I think I’ll hopefully get better.”
The Radioshack rider, who is competing in Utah as a solo rider under the Mellow Johnny’s banner, entered the six-day tour with an eye for events in September. He confirmed that he plans to contest the U.S. Pro races in Greenville, South Carolina, but he would not do the same for the world championships. “I’m here to have fun, I’m here for training mostly,” he said. “We have those Canadian ProTour races and then the U.S. championships. Worlds is always kind of a wait and see how you’re doing at the moment. It’s definitely got to be worth it to go there and you’ve got to be sure you can get a medal and for me that’s the time trial.”
As for the parcours in Utah, Leipheimer had high praise as he coughed his way through a wind down on the trainer across the street from the State Capitol. “It’s super hard. I’ve ridden all the roads. Great climbs, I mean really great courses, and that’s the reason I’m here,” he said. “I lived here a few years and I know the climbs and I can’t wait to ride them. It’s going to be fun and hopefully I’ll have the legs to go for a stage win or something. That’s kind of what I had in mind for this week.”
When asked which stage he’s hunting this week, the 37-year-old was non-committal and recalled a recent conversation about his previous mark on Sunday’s Snowbird climb. “Any one that I feel good in. The last day would be nice. Someone said I still have the record up that last climb.