Leipheimer confirms he’s retiring from professional cycling
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Leipheimer confirms he’s retiring from professional cycling

by VeloNation Press at 12:04 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
American unable to find a team after confession to USADA

Levi LeipheimerWithout a team since the Omega Pharma Quick Step squad dropped him in October of last year, Levi Leipheimer has finally accepted that his career has drawn to a close.

The American rider was handed a six month racing ban due to his admissions of doping to the US Anti Doping Agency but although he was eligible to return to racing on March 1st, he was unable to reach an agreement with a new team. He has now confirmed he won’t race professionally again.

“I'm retired,” Leipheimer told the The Press Democrat on Sunday at the final stage of the Tour of California. “It's just been an unceremoniously retired.”

Leipheimer is a resident of Santa Rosa, where the race concluded, and was present at the finale. He had previously not responded to enquiries about whether he had found a new team, and so Sunday’s statement was the first public admission that he would not return to the peloton.

Leipheimer was handed a six month ban by USADA last year and was also stripped of all of his results between June 1st 1999 and July 30th 2006, and between July 7th and 29th 2007. The latter saw him lose his third place in that year’s Tour de France.

He had admitted to long term doping as part of his confession to USADA. He and a number of other former US Postal Service riders gave evidence against Lance Armstrong and the others involved in running the team. In all five riders who were active then accepted that they had broken the rules in the past; in the wake of those admissions, George Hincapie retired, while the Garmin-Sharp trio of Christian Vande Velde, Tom Danielson and Dave Zabriskie sat out six month bans and returned to competition this year.

Although Leipheimer had a contract with the Omega Pharma Quick Step squad which extended until the end of this season, the team announced last October that it was firing him.

“We commend the rider for his open co-operation with USADA and contribution to cleaning up the sport of cycling,” it stated. “However, in the light of the disclosures made by Mr Leipheimer in his public statement on 10th of October the team has decided to terminate the contract.

“This decision has the full support of the team owner, the board represented by Mr Bessel Kok and team manager Mr Patrick Lefevere.”

Leipheimer told the Press Democrat that he was “transitioning into the rest of my life. I sort of miss racing. I still love riding my bike.”

He said that he would concentrate on promoting his Gran Fondo, which will take place in October.


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