Levi Leipheimer Tour de Suisse Victory — What a Baller

Distance: 20.11 miles
Time: 1:00:46
Average Watts: 178 watts
Normative Power: 188 watts
Average Heart Rate: 165 bpm
Total Work: 650 kJ
Average Speed: 19.9 mph

You know that sound that Scooby-Doo would make when he was in trouble? Ruh-roh…that is what kept going through my mind during my ride this morning. I haven’t ridden in a week and my head cold is on its way out, but apparently it is still lingering. The legs felt fine, but man my lungs were feeling it. My heart rate for this ride should have been in the low 150’s, but man was it high. The heart rate issue can be directly attributed to the lingering infection, but man oh man does it need to get out of my body.

The timing on this cold could be worse…I have the Double Triple Bypass in Colorado three weeks from last Saturday. Truly I am glad that if I have to get sick that it happens now. I was only supposed to miss four days of training last week but ended up missing two additional rides because of the cold. I have decided to keep riding this week and just back off the accelerator if I need to. I am still going to put in the mileage this week just to keep the legs strong, but I am going to steer clear of violent climbs and huge accelerations. I think my body just needs a little more time to heal.

Levi Leipheimer Takes the Tour de Suisse

If you didn’t get to watch Levi absolutely dominate the last stage of the Tour of Switzerland, you really missed out on the performance of a lifetime. If you follow triathlon or cycling, you owe it to yourself to watch the coverage. But first, the backstory.

26.2ismycooldown.comLevi is one of the top U.S. riders and I would say one of my favorite riders. I actually got to see him at a pre-stage meet and greet at the Tour of Utah in 2010 and that was pretty awesome. He turned pro way back in 1997 with the Colorado Cyclist team, which is where I buy most of my cycling gear when I do get it online. I love how the company supports cycling through their various road and mountain bike teams. Next time you are price shopping, go by their site at coloradocyclist.com. I have only had great experiences with them to date and I have ordered quite a bit from them — good prices and great delivery timelines…

Then Levi made it to the big time and started riding for Johan Bruyneel in 2000 when he started riding for the U.S. Postal team with Lance Armstrong and the boys. Levi was a great racer and even put together a podium place at the Vuelta de Espana in 2001 while racing for them. From 2002 until 2007 he rode for a couple of European teams — Rabobank and Gerolsteiner. In 2008 he went back to Bruyneel and rode for Astana and followed him to Team RadioShack in 2010 where he still races. I am sure the return of Lance Armstrong had a ton to do with his decisions to move teams from time to time. Regardless of why, Levi has always been one of the top tier of riders in the world. Not bad for a boy from Montana. Can you imagine riding in the winters there? Ouch.

26.2ismycooldown.comSwitching gears to the Tour de Suisse, Levi was 1:59 behind the race leader Damiano Cunego who rides for Lampre. Cunego has a better pedigree when it comes to overall wins in stage races — he has won the Giro d’Italia, Amstel Gold, and the smaller Giro di Lombaridia. He is primarily a climber, but had an incredible Tour de Suisse when it came down to it. All he had to do was hold off his contenders for the last stage, a 32.1 km or almost 20.0 mile individual time trial. But the problem is his time trial skills are not the best in the world — that honor still goes to Fabian Cancellara who won both individual time trials at this race.

Leipheimer has good time trialing skills, but let’s say he generally finishes in the top 20 of a time trial. Of course, I couldn’t even make the cut off time, so take that into consideration. Leipheimer has an incredible strategy that I love. He starts out a little slower than what he should, kicks his effort up a notch through the middle of a course, and then goes for it for the last let’s say 25-30% of the distance. On Sunday that is exactly what he did. He absolutely dominated Cunego, especially for the last 6 miles or so. When Levi started you could almost hear him saying to Cunego, “Let’s dance. You want the win? I am here to take it from you and you can’t do anything about it.”

Once the after-burners kicked on, Leipheimer started making up some real time on Cunego. Granted, Cunego was probably fried by the significant amount of effort it takes to be the leader of a stage race that most call the fourth most important stage race in the world. You know Cunego gave it his best, but he revealed that his time trial form needs some work. Leipheimer turned in the ride of his life and ended up taking the yellow jersey (yes, in this race it is the yellow jersey) by a whopping four seconds. Dude is amazing. I was a fan before, but now, I would say that between him, George Hincapie, Dave Zabriskie, Christian Van de Velde, and Teejay Van Garderen (I hope he makes the roster for HTC-Columbia), the U.S. has a decent chance of getting someone on the podium for the Tour de France.

In the mean time, you gotta watch this. Bob Roll is geeking out at the end of Leipheimer’s ride.

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Congratulations Levi — you deserve it. Awesome win for you and in a small part, for the U.S. You know how to go all out and just kill it. Your Stage 9 performance will go down as one of the best individual efforts for the win in my book. Let’s hope at 38 years old you have at least one more season in you pal.

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...