Leipheimer to return from fracture to ride Tour of California
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Friday, May 11, 2012

Leipheimer to return from fracture to ride Tour of California

by VeloNation Press at 8:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California, Injury
 
Past winner fights back from injury, team-mate Boonen hungry for success

Levi LepiheimerDespite his ongoing recovery from a car/bike crash on April 1, triple race winner Levi Leipheimer confirmed today that he will line out in the Amgen Tour of California in two days’ time.

The Santa Rosa resident will take to the start in his home town, saying that he couldn’t do otherwise.

"The thought of not starting here, after working so long with so many people to make it happen, it just kills me," the all rounder stated.

However the disruption caused by his fibula fracture means that he doesn’t pinpoint winning the overall as a target.

"It was important when the team got here that I was able to show them that I wouldn't be a burden — a weak link,” he explained. “To show I wouldn't just roll out, do 50km just for the first stage and then quit. It's not fair to the team. I wanted to show them I worked hard enough to get into good shape to help those guys during the week, and use the race to build for the future. I am very pleased to announce I will start the race."

Leipheimer was hit by a car in Spain on April 1st, one day before he was due to start the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. Medical professionals initially thought his main injury was a badly bruised leg, but medical tests carried out after his return to the USA showed that he had suffered a fracture.

"I have to be realistic," Leipheimer said, emphasizing the extent of the damage. "This wasn't just a crack or a bruise or a hematoma. The bone was broken apart. You can see it on the X-Ray. As pro athletes we're always taught to reach for the stars and never give up, but I've obviously got to be realistic and tell pressure off myself."

If Leipheimer is writing off his chances, Omega Pharma Quick Step team-mate Tom Boonen is not. He recently had a superb spring campaign, with his victories including the rare double of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and is motivated to clock up more big results.

"It's a little special, this race," he said at the same pre-race press conference. "Coming back from a rest period, continuing after the Classics. I have only good memories of this tour. A really nice organization, the parcours is very nice. It's the perfect race to get started again.

“There are three or four stages that will suit me, not just two. I am looking forward to getting a big result."

The Amgen Tour of California begins with a 115.9 mile race starting and finishing in Santa Rosa.

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