August 6, 2006 (Seefield, Austria) – American and defending champion Levi Leipheimer (Santa Rosa, Calif.) captured a win in stage five of the Deutschland Tour Saturday with a victory in the 189-kilometer mountain stage from Bad TÃ¶lz to Seefield, Austria.
The UCI ProTour event, more commonly referred to as the Tour of Germany, is a scaled down, nine-day version of the Tour de France and is the first major cycling event after the sport’s flagship race. Leipheimer captured the 2005 edition — arguably the highlight of his career — with a 31-second win over Jan Ullrich of Germany. With three stages remaining in the 2006 edition, Leipheimer sits in fourth place, 18 seconds behind race leader Jens Voigt of Germany.
Riding for the German-based Gerolsteiner team, Leipheimer will face one more mountain stage Monday, a 180-kilometer trek from Seefield to Sankt Anton, Austria. Tuesday’s 40-kilometer time trial will provide another opportunity for Leipheimer to recoup lost time before the race ends Wednesday with a flat 182-kilometer stage from Bad Krozingen to Karlsruhe.
After entering Sunday in 24th-place, 49 seconds behind overall leader Erik Zabel of Germany, Leipheimer took the stage win, finishing three seconds ahead of Andrey Kashechkin of Kazakhstan.
With 500-meters remaining to the mountaintop finish, Kashechkin attacked a nine-man group — a move to only which Leipheimer and Leonardo Piepoli of Italy could respond. Then, Leipheimer made the winning move, separating himself from the remainder of his breakaway companions to take the victory in solo fashion.
Leipheimer, who will return to the American-based Discovery Channel Team in 2007, also lists three Tour de France top-ten overall finishes and the 2002 Route du Sud title as his career highlights.
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 3.44.20
2 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Team 0.03
3 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
4 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC
5 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir
6 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.17
7 Inigo Cuesta Lopez De Castro (Spa) Team CSC 0.29
8 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 0.36
9 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) T-Mobile Team
10 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Lampre-Fondital
39 Michael Barry (Can) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 2.32
GC after Stage 5
1 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 22.27.51
2 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.03
3 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 0.13
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 0.18
5 Inigo Cuesta Lopez De Castro (Spa) Team CSC 0.25
6 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Lampre-Fondital 0.36
7 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.38
8 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) T-Mobile Team 0.43
9 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Team 0.49
10 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 0.57
37 Michael Barry (Can) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3.18