Clean Sweep: Levi Leipheimer leads American 1-5 Finish
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Day: Sunday the 19th
Start: San Francisco
Finish: San Francisco
Start Time: 10:00 AM
Finish ETA: 12:22 PM
Race Format: Prologue Time Trial
Prologue Results | Photos + Video | Press Release
Levi Leipheimer is happy to be home, and he showed it today. The Gerolsteiner rider led a USA sweep of the top five places in today's Amgen Tour of California Prologue, beating fellow American Bobby Julich by a relatively large margin of 5 seconds.
Today's race was an American affair: All five top spots were claimed by US riders.
The inaugural prologue was not without its drama: Nathan O'Neill crashed just 150 meters from the finish line, but still finished with a time of 5'10". In spite of that, the Australian rider held onto first place for almost half the day. Fabian Cancellara took the lead away, though, with a fast 5'03".
And then the top Americans took to the course. George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Bobby Julich and Levi Leipheimer all broke the 5 minute barrier. David Zabriske rounded out the top five with a 5'02" effort.
But the day belonged to Gerolsteiner's Leipheimer, who was clearly thrilled to turn in a winning performance so close to home.
"Amgen Tour of California is a great race and I can’t tell you how proud I am to be leading the first race," said Leipheimer after fending off one final challenge from three-time defending time trial world champion Michael Rogers (TMO). "[This race] is, right out of the start house, the biggest race in the U.S.," Leipheimer continued, "it's definitely going to be the fastest growing race that the world has seen with the support of AEG and Amgen."
The prologue favored well-rounded riders like Leipheimer. The race started along the Embarcadero, but finished with a steep, short climb up Telegraph Hill.
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