The climbing started in earnest early and toughly (yes, I’m aware that’s not a word). The highly (let’s feast on adverbs!) touted climb of Mt. Palomar was on everyone’s lips and it was in fact a doozy. Attacks came left, right, center, and in the grass. Astana was instantly put under pressure, but since it is Astana after all, they responded with composure and success.
Yes, that is a nice view.
The early break would not go the distance, but it suffered gamely before the big dogs came flying up, and then turned on the after burners. Elder Schleck’s little brother, Andy, single-handedly put Astana on their heels for awhile until Elder Schleck went off on his own (with Nibali).
At the front of the race, the pressure was constantly on. It wasn’t surprising then that a solid group of all stars got free for a bit. The only surprise? Levi was completely isolated against three Saxers and two Garmins, plus a few others.
Yes, it hurt. It hurt a lot. Pieter Weening’s face does not lie.
The whole isolation thing might perturb some, but Levi is flying. They could have put Levi against motorbikes and Bugati Veyrons and he would have been fine.
Race organizers didn’t neglect the fans in Cole Grade – they gave em a big ol TV.
Thanks to all the fans that kept the road art in chalk!
Frank Schleck made easy work of Vincenzo Nibali. Nibali hasn’t put up much of a fight in a sprint so far this week. He’s been there on a number of occasions and been dusted every time.
Aw shucks, I don’t know, I just rode my bike, pedalled hard, and somehow I won!
Rory Sutherland came up just short of the last step of the podium on the final day. The honor, instead, went to Mr. Hincapie.
1-2-3, yep, that’s three. Take that Floyd.
Robert Gesink held on to his Best Young Rider jersey with ease.
Frank Schleck took the final Courageous Rider jersey.
Lance and Levi: We rock!
Till next year!
Stage 8 Results
1 Frдnk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 3.48.39 (41.334 km/h)
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 0.02
3 George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia – Highroad 0.40
4 Rory Sutherland (Aus) OUCH Presented By Maxxis
5 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank
6 Josй Luis Rubiera (Spa) Astana
7 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana
8 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank
9 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
10 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
Final General Classification
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 31.28.21
2 David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin – Slipstream 0.36
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Columbia – Highroad 0.45
4 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank 1.10
5 Thomas Lцvkvist (Swe) Team Columbia – Highroad 1.29
6 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas 1.37
7 Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 1.46
8 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 1.54
9 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin – Slipstream 2.24
10 Josй Luis Rubiera (Spa) Astana 2.48
11 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step 2.57
12 Frдnk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 3.19
13 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Rock Racing 3.37
14 Jurgen van de Walle (Bel) Quick Step 4.15
15 George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia – Highroad 4.19
16 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank 5.44
17 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank 6.08
18 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Team Saxo Bank 6.25
19 Iсigo Cuesta (Spa) Cervйlo TestTeam 6.56
20 Enrique Gutierrez (Spa) Rock Racing 7.55
Today’s Jersey Winners Include:
Amgen Race Leader Jersey – Levi Leipheimer, Astana
Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Rider Jersey – Frank Schleck, SaxoBank
Herbalife Sprint Jersey – Mark Cavendish, Columbia
Rabobank Best Young Rider Jersey- Robert Gesink, Rabobank
California Travel & Tourism Commission King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey – Jason McCartney, Rock
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