Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Domestiques - Why I love cycling

One of the things that I love about cycling is the hard work of the teammates on behalf of their leader - whether a sprinter, climber or GC (General Classification) cyclist.

Yesterday on Stage 2 Levi Leipheimer absolutely decimated the field on the final climb up Boony Doon Road. His team drove the front of the peloton all day in the rain and then delivered Levi to the base of the last climb. With Yaroslov Popovych his only remaining teammate, Levi asked him to "Light it Up". Popo stepped on the gas for about a kilometer and then Levi was off. No one could follow. Soon he caught and passed all 10 riders in the break and only Thomas Peterson was able to hold on to Levi's wheel as he powered into Santa Cruz. Very impressive!

On the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California, Levi found himself 12 minutes behind Francisco Mancebo. Levi's team went to the front and while Levi sat in 3rd or 4th wheel the likes of Chris Horner, Chechu Ruberia and Lance Armstrong buried themselves to reel in Johnson and Kemp and then take back back 11 of the 12 minute advantage Mancebo had established. Had the race officials not decided to stop the clock before the 3 lap circuit of Santa Rosa, the Astana boys would have been able to bring back the entire advantage.

The KOM results tell the story:
Howell Mt Rd

1 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Rock Racing 8 pts
2 Timothy Johnson (USA) OUCH Presented By Maxxis 7
3 David Kemp (Aus) Fly V Australia 6
4 Christopher Horner (USA) Astana 5
5 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 3

Petrified Forest Rd

1 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Rock Racing 4 pts
2 José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Astana 3
3 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 2
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 1

1 comment:

  1. On the one hand Levi has an awesome situation. On the other I don't know if I could handle the pressure. Can you imagine having freaking Lance Armstrong as your Domestique and not winning?