A Belated Congrats, Levi (we didn’t forget about you)

Amgen Tour of California Stage 8

I’m sorry I forgot to Twitter you on Friday after you won the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. That’s really awesome, and I as I pointed out earlier, would make a great name for an indie rock band. We were all just so occupied with Lance’s collarbone — I even saw a clip about it on CNN, no joke — and simply forgot to say good job. Don’t worry, Levi, we still love you.

It was actually a pretty eventful race, even after Lance was out. You had a great time trial on Tuesday, where you flew across 28.2 km of windy Spanish soil in only 33:17, and locked up the leader’s jersey for the rest of the race. It was productive. Alberto Contador gave you some solid support riding, especially up the Cat 1 climb on Thursday’s stage, and you guys got some solid bonding time in. It’s a nice win to get you hungry for the Giro, even if you’ll be riding in support of Lance (or probably Contador, if Lance is still out).

And that’s the thing — you’ve got some big victories on your resume (2006’s Dauphiné Libéré and Tour of Germany, where you also kicked Jan Ullrich’s ass up a mountain; 2007’s USA Road championship and three consecutive Tour of California wins), not to mention a handful of top-ten finishes in the Tour de France. You’ve got the stuff to win the big ones — you can hold your own in the mountains and you’ve become a fairly formidable time trialer. But you’re stuck working for the man, hauling Lance up mountainsides and guarding him in the peloton. It’s a thankless job, but someone’s gotta do it (and apparently that has to be you).

Fortunately, you’ve always done it with style. You’re serving the greater good. I’ve always viewed you as a super-domestique anyway, a leuitenant in the field. You’re not just a water bottle shuttle; you set up the strategy, you trade the paint and direct the action. You are not just B squad, but leader of B squad! Pretty boss, Levi; pretty boss indeed.

[Leipheimer wins Castilla y Leon – via VeloNews]


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