Yesterday it was 23 year old Tejay Van Garderen who said that Leipheimer loses his nerve in those wet and technical descents. The HTC-Highroad rider with “balls” took over the race lead with a bold descent into Aspen.
Perhaps Leipheimer doesn’t have enough nerve or cojones but he certainly has enough willpower and speed. The Radio Shack captain hit the 16. 1 km uphill time trial hard and wrestled back the leader’s jersey by eleven seconds over second place finisher Christian Vande Velde of Garmin-Cervelo.
It was the second stage win of the US Pro Cycling Challenge for Leipheimer and this time by the narrowest of margins — a half second faster the Vande Velde.
“I didn’t expect the time to be only half-second difference to Christian but I did expect him to be my closest competitor. I think both of us were a little bit upset at ourselves yesterday with the way the stage played out. I consider that Christian and I both share this victory.”
Team Physiologist Allen Lim told us that immediately after the disappointing stage into Aspen, they wisked Leipheimer out of town to Vail and a private house mininutes from the course. He had extra recovery time for his massage, a relaxing, quiet dinner prepared by the Radio Shack chef and a few more hours to sleep.
All those little things add up to a faster time. Faster than Tejay Van Garderen and fast enough to get that yellow and white check jersey back.
“Now I’m on the offensive and these next few days are daunting. But we’re very motivated,” said Leipheimer. “I gave the jersey up once and I don’t want to give it up again.”
It’s premature to call Leipheimer of winner of the tour of Colorado but he’s back in control and his form is excellent. As long as there are no slippery descents that require large balls, he may have this thing in the bag.