Amgen Tour: Leipheimer keeps three-second lead

first_imgGerald Coilek (T-Mobile) of Germany was second in the stage and Juan Jose Haedo (CSC) of Argentina, the second stage winner, was third. Both had the same time as the winner. Leipheimer (Discovery Channel), who assumed the race lead Sunday with his prologue win in San Francisco, finished 22nd in the main pack and kept his three-second margin over Jens Voigt (CSC) of Germany. The stage began under overcast skies, and the riders faced heavy periodic rain for much of the first half of the stage. The cyclists also rode most of the day along the Pacific coastline in tailing crosswinds that increased the riders’ pace. The winner’s average speed was 26.01 mph. “I was just trying to stay near the front and avoid and gaps that might happen,” Leipheimer said. “I feel very confident and I think I’m the strongest rider in the race.” Rory Sutherland (Health Net) of Australia remains third overall, trailing by 15 seconds. Bettini, also the reigning Olympic road race gold medalist, emerged near the front of the main pack as the cyclists approached the finish on a sharp left turn with about 300 yards left. “I always like winning, but I didn’t really come here with a goal to win,” said Bettini, 32, a multiple Tour de France stage winner who has claimed more than a dozen World Cup victories. “But yesterday on the climb I knew had good legs.” The eight-day, 639.2-mile race continues today with the 14.5-mile fifth stage individual time trial in Solvang before Day 9 reaches Santa Clarita and ends in Long Beach. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img SAN LUIS OBISPO – Italy’s Paolo Bettini, the reigning world road titlist, claimed a tight sprint victory and Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa maintained his overall race lead for the fifth day Thursday in the fourth stage of the Amgen Tour of California. Bettini (Quick-Step/Innergetic), competing in the United States for the first time in his career, surged in the final 100yards to complete the 132.6-mile road race in 5 hours, 5 minutes and 47 seconds. last_img read more