Thursday, August 18, 2005

German Last Name, German Victory

courtesy AFP

Levi Leipheimer, American member of the German team Gerolsteiner, scored his biggest victory to date, winning a stage of the Tour Of Germany that featured the highest climb of the entire cycling season. Leipheimer and teammate Georg Totschnig pulled away from Jan Ullrich on the final summit, and the American was just strong enough to claim the victory---and the lead in the overall standings.

General Classification, after stage 4:
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 19.17.02
2 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner 0.18
3 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile 0.56
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon - Lotto 1.22
5 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team 1.28
6 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems 1.51
7 Saul Raisin (USA) Crédit Agricole 2.56
8 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Saunier Duval - Prodir 3.16
9 Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) Quickstep
10 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Davitamon - Lotto 3.58

Of particular interest are the strong positions of both American rider Saul Raisin and Belgian upstart Wim Van Huffel. Raisin is an up-and-coming rider who gets absolutely ZERO media coverage, but should be quite a competitor in a couple of years. Van Huffel is the next great Belgian hope for stage race wins, as he's proven to be an extremely talented climber despite being from a generally flat country. Where Tom Boonen rules in the sprints and one-day races, Van Huffel could rule in the general classification of stage races.

In the Post-Lance era, cycling is just as exciting as ever---too bad nobody in America will care anymore...