Levi Leipheimer (born October 24, 1973) is an American former professional road racing cyclist. He was twice US national champion, winning the time trial title in 1999 and the road race in 2007, and is an Olympic medalist. Leipheimer was born and raised in Butte, Montana and resides in Santa Rosa, California. He is the patron of the widely attended King Ridge GranFondo, a mass participation ride in Sonoma County.
Leipheimer at the 2009 Tour of California
|Full name||Levi Leipheimer|
October 24, 1973|
Butte, Montana, U.S.
|Height||1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Weight||62 kg (137 lb; 9.8 st)|
|1995||F.S. Maestro – Frigas|
|1997||Comptel – Colorado Cyclist|
|2000–2001||U.S. Postal Service|
Leipheimer's major career accomplishments include winning the 2007, 2008 and 2009 editions of the Tour of California, the 2011 Tour de Suisse and the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge. His Grand Tour results include 2nd in the 2008 Vuelta a España, and 4th in the 2009 Giro d'Italia. Leipheimer won the bronze medal in the time trial at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced in October 2012 that Leipheimer would be suspended for his involvement in doping while riding for Saturn, U.S. Postal Service, Rabobank, Gerolsteiner and Astana. Leipheimer accepted a 6-month ban from September 1, 2012 to March 1, 2013 and was stripped of all race results from June 1, 1999 to July 30, 2006, and July 7 to 29, 2007. Leipheimer committed a previous doping violation in 1996.
Early life and amateur careerEdit
Leipheimer was born and raised in Butte, Montana, where his parents ran a sporting goods store. As a youth, his main sport was skiing, but he became interested in cycling after a skiing accident led to him directing his career hopes towards cycling. He moved to Belgium after graduation to race as an amateur, and turned professional in 1997.
Maestro Frigas and Einstein (1995–1996)Edit
1996 doping violationEdit
Leipheimer, riding for Team Einstein, won the 1996 U.S. National Criterium Championships in Grandview Heights, Ohio, but tested positive for ephedrine, a banned substance. He eventually forfeited his title, prize money and national champion's jersey as well as receiving a three-month suspension. Leipheimer's family later claimed that the positive test was not indicative of doping, but rather, the result of his taking allergy medicine Claritin-D to relieve hay fever.
Colorado Cyclist and Saturn (1997–1999)Edit
Leipheimer turned professional in 1997 with the Colorado Cyclist team. In 1998, he changed teams and was hired by Team Saturn, with which he won the U.S. National Time Trial Championship in 1999.
U.S. Postal (2000–2001)Edit
Leipheimer joined the U.S. Postal Service team in 2000. His breakthrough came in the 2001 Vuelta a España, his first Grand Tour, in which he was riding in support of team leader Roberto Heras. Going into the final stage, an individual time trial in Madrid, Leipheimer was fifth, trailing his leader, who was third, by about a minute. During that time trial, Leipheimer moved ahead of two riders, including Heras, in the general classification to finish third overall, the first American to reach the podium in the Vuelta.
Riding for the German team Gerolsteiner, Leipheimer finished 6th in the 2005 Tour de France. On August 23, 2005, Leipheimer won the Deutschland Tour by 31 seconds, ahead of T-Mobile Team's Jan Ullrich and Gerolsteiner teammate Georg Totschnig. He had solidified his lead by defeating Ullrich in stage four on the Rettenbachferner, the highest climb in European racing that year at 2,670m.
In August 2010, Leipheimer was accused of having suspect blood values during the 2005 Tour de France by Hans-Michael Holczer, his former team manager at Gerolsteiner, in his book Garantiert Positiv (Guaranteed Positive, in English). According to Holczer, Leipheimer showed blood values that indicated a "high probability of blood manipulation" and were so suspicious that one UCI official suggested that he should be withdrawn from the race. Holczer said that he refused to withdraw Leipheimer because the team was "facing total bankruptcy" due to the sponsor's nervousness about the team's involvement in other doping scandals.
In February 2006, Leipheimer was a favorite to win the inaugural Tour of California. He took the leader's golden jersey on the first day by winning the prologue to San Francisco's Coit Tower, but eventually finished sixth behind Floyd Landis and won the competition for best climber.
Leipheimer won the 2006 Dauphiné Libéré, having gained the overall lead on the stage to Mont Ventoux. He was considered a contender in the 2006 Tour de France after several favorites, including Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich, were suspended because of the Operación Puerto doping case: Leipheimer, who had been sixth the previous year, was the highest-placed rider returning. However, his final position was 12th, 18 and a half minutes behind winner Floyd Landis.
Team Discovery (2007)Edit
Leipheimer re-signed with Tailwind Sports Corp. and Capital Sports & Entertainment, managing companies for the U.S. Postal and, later, the Discovery Channel cycling teams. Leipheimer was team leader in the 2007 Tour of California, which he won after leading the race from start to finish. In the Paris-Nice race, he supported teammate Alberto Contador, who won. He placed third in the 2007 Tour de France, 31 seconds behind the winner, Contador. Leipheimer also won stage 19, the last individual time trial. Discovery Channel disbanded at the end of the season. Leipheimer won the 2007 USA road championship, 1m 11s ahead of Discovery teammate and defending champion George Hincapie.
Leipheimer joined Astana, managed by Johan Bruyneel, former manager of U.S. Postal and Discovery Channel. Astana was banned from the 2008 Tour de France because of doping scandals in the 2007 Tour, although all involved in those scandals had been replaced. Leipheimer created a website to petition, unsuccessfully, for admittance to the 2008 Tour.
Leipheimer won the 2008 Tour of California. At the last minute, Astana was admitted to the Giro d'Italia, and Leipheimer finished 18th, helping teammate Contador to victory. He won the bronze medal at the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics in the road time trial. Leipheimer won both time trials of the 2008 Vuelta a España, leading the race after the first stage, and placed second overall.
Leipheimer began 2009 by winning the Tour of California for the third consecutive year. He broke away during the final climb of stage 2 and led after the stage. Leipheimer won stage 6, the Solvang individual time trial. Astana teammate Lance Armstrong, in his second race after returning from retirement, rode for Leipheimer. Leipheimer won the 2009 SRAM Tour of the Gila with Astana teammates Chris Horner and Armstrong, who finished second but, as UCI regulations meant that Astana were ineligible for the event, the three rode as Team Mellow Johnny's, named after Armstrong's bike shop.
In May, Leipheimer rode for Astana in the Giro d'Italia and finished 6th overall, the team's best placement. Later, the 2nd-place finisher Danilo Di Luca tested positive for a banned substance and was stripped of his position, moving Leipheimer up to a 5th-place finish in the records.
Team RadioShack (2010–2011)Edit
Leipheimer moved, along with Armstrong and several others from Astana's 2009 team, to Team RadioShack for 2010. He won his second consecutive SRAM Tour of the Gila in April. At the 2010 Tour de California Leipheimer finished in third place overall.
Leipheimer was favored to lead the team in California again for 2011, but became the team's chief domestique instead, riding in support of Chris Horner's eventual victory, after the latter posted a stronger time on mountainous stage four into San Jose. Leipheimer also won the stage finishing at the Mount Baldy ski area, and was second in the individual time trial. In his next race, the Tour of Switzerland, Leipheimer won, overhauling the race leader Damiano Cunego by 2 minutes in the final time trial stage, to win the tour by 4 seconds.
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step (2012)Edit
Leipheimer joined Patrick Lefevere's Omega Pharma–Quick-Step team for what was supposed to be the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He started his year by winning the Tour de San Luis in Argentina. However, while on a training ride on the eve of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, he broke his fibula when he collided with a car. He stated that he thought he would die when the accident happened. He returned to competition at the Tour of California, where he won the "Most Courageous" jersey after stage one, in recognition of his return from the serious injury. He finished the race in sixth overall.
Leipheimer followed his California performance with third place overall in the Tour de Suisse. Leipheimer won a stage of the Tour of Utah, and finished third overall in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, having led the race for one day.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step terminated Leipheimer's contract in October, one week after his testimony to USADA.
Leipheimer officially retired from pro cycling in May 2013. As previously noted, Leipheimer had cooperated with USADA in their case against Lance Armstrong, and detailed his own use of performance-enhancing drugs and methods while riding for Saturn, U.S. Postal Service, Rabobank, Gerolsteiner and Astana. In an October 2012 op-ed for the website of The Wall Street Journal ("Why I Doped"), Leipheimer also asserted to have raced the last five years of his career clean.
Leipheimer and four other riders — George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie and Tom Danielson — received six-month suspensions and were stripped of results. Hincapie retired; the others resumed racing in 2013 after serving their suspensions. Leipheimer hoped to do the same when his suspension ended in March but he could not find a team after having been fired by Omega Pharma.
Leipheimer is no longer married to Canadian professional cyclist Odessa Gunn, whom he met at a World Cup event in Philadelphia in 1997.
In 2009 Leipheimer founded his King Ridge GranFondo, a mass participation ride named for the challenging King Ridge Road in Sonoma County. The inaugural version of the GranFondo hosted a sold-out crowd of 3,500 people on the roads in and around Leipheimer's home of Santa Rosa, California. By 2011, participation had risen to 7,500 riders. The event is a charity ride, benefitting the Forget Me Not Farm, the NorCal High School Cycling League, and a series of initiatives designed to promote cycling and community resources in and around Sonoma County.
On Tuesday, October 23, 2012, a feature-length documentary on Leipheimer's career entitled The Levi Effect: The Story of Levi Leipheimer was screened in select theaters in the United States.
All results from June 1, 1999 to July 30, 2006 and July 7 to 29, 2007 are stripped.
- 1st Overall Tour de la Province de Namur
- 1st Stage 2 Cascade Cycling Classic
- 1st Prologue Tour de Toona
- 1st Overall Tour de Beauce
- 1st Stage 3
- 1st Time trial, National Road Championships
- 1st USA Cycling Professional Tour
- 1st Time trial, National Road Championships
- 1st Overall Tour of California
- 1st Prologue & Stage 5 (ITT)
- Tour de Georgia
- 1st Stage 4 (ITT) & 5
- 1st Stage 3 (ITT) Tour of Missouri
- 1st Copperopolis Road Race
- 2nd Overall Deutschland Tour
- 1st Overall Tour of California
- 1st Stage 5 (ITT)
- 1st Overall Cascade Cycling Classic
- 1st Clásica a los Puertos de Guadarrama
- 2nd Overall Vuelta a España
- 1st Stage 5 & 20
- 3rd Overall Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
- 1st Prologue
- 3rd Overall Tour de Georgia
- 3rd Time trial, Olympic Games
- 4th Time trial, UCI Road World Championships
- 1st Overall Tour of California
- 1st Stage 6 (ITT)
- 1st Overall Vuelta a Castilla y León
- 1st Stage 2 (ITT)
- 1st Overall Tour of the Gila
- 1st Stage 1 & 3 (ITT)
- 1st Stage 4 (TTT) Tour de France
- 1st Stage 2 Sea Otter Classic
- 5th Overall Giro d'Italia
- 1st Overall Tour of the Gila
- 1st Stage 1
- 1st Overall Tour of Utah
- 1st Stage 2
- 1st Leadville Trail 100 MTB (course record)
- 3rd Overall Tour of California
- 1st Overall USA Pro Cycling Challenge
- 1st Stage 1 & 3
- 1st Overall Tour de Suisse
- 1st Overall Tour of Utah
- 2nd Overall Tour of California
- 1st Stage 7
- 3rd Overall Vuelta a Andalucía
- 5th Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
- 8th Overall Paris–Nice
- 1st Overall Tour de San Luis
- 1st Stage 3[N 1] & 4 (ITT)
- 3rd Overall Tour de Suisse
- 3rd Overall USA Pro Cycling Challenge
- 6th Overall Tour of California
- 6th Overall Tour of Utah
- 1st Stage 6
Grand Tour general classification results timelineEdit
|Tour de France||—||—||DNF||12||32||32|
|Vuelta a España||—||—||—||—||—||2||—||—||—||—|
|—||Did not compete|
|DNF||Did not finish|
- "Statement From USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart Regarding The U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team Doping Conspiracy". USADA. October 10, 2012.
- "Levi Leipheimer acceptance of sanction" (PDF). Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- "Levi Leipheimer tells hometown paper he's retired from pro cycling". VeloNews.com. May 20, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
Last year, Omega Pharma-Quick Step fired him after he admitted using performance-enhancing drugs and methods while riding for Saturn, U.S. Postal Service, Rabobank, Gerolsteiner and Astana.
- "Leipheimer confirms: I'm retired". CyclingNews.com. May 20, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
Levi Leipheimer has confirmed to reporters in California that he is indeed retired after his six month ban for doping violations was completed on March 1.
- "Cool Montana Stories: Levi Leipheimer". Montanakids.com. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
- "Holtz Typically Pessimistic As Opener Nears for Irish" (paid). Salt Lake Tribune. Levi Leipheimer, 22, a Utah resident and University of Utah student, won the six -stage Tour of Namur race Aug. 16–20 in Belgium. August 30, 1995.
- "F.S. Maestro – Frigas 1995", le site du cyclism
- "Mention of Honor". Salt Lake Tribune. September 24, 1996. p. B2.
- Mallozzi, Vincent M. (December 29, 1996). "Leipheimer wins US Criterium Title". The New York Times.
- VeloNews, volume 26: issue number 1, January 13, 1997, pp 6–7: Velonotes: A USA Cycling disciplinary panel has recommended that Levi Leipheimer receive a three-month suspension and be forced to return his national criterium championship jersey. The decision came after a drug test conducted at the August 18 championship event [was] positive. The panel's decision was upheld by USA Cycling executive director Lisa Voight, and the criterium title was awarded to Matt Johnson.
- Malach, Pat. "Riders react to USADA reasoned decision". Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
Leipheimer, for example tested positive for ephedrine at the 1996 Elite criterium championships, which he won after lapping the field, and admitted using EPO while riding for Saturn in 1999.
- "Our readers speak - Letters to the editor". Montana Standard. July 9, 2006.
- "WADA Prohibited List 2010" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 11, 2013. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- "Holczer accuses Leipheimer of blood manipulation". cyclingnews.com. August 4, 2010.
- "''Velonews'' Former Gerolsteiner manager levels doping charge against Leipheimer". Velonews.competitor.com. January 17, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
- The team name changed when U.S. Postal ended sponsorship. A sponsorship agreement was signed with Discovery Channel in 2005.
- "Tour de France organizers exclude Astana team; Alberto Contador may not defend title". ESPN.com. Associated Press. February 13, 2008. Retrieved August 15, 2008.
- Jeremy Whittle (July 17, 2009). "Broken Wrist Forces Levi Leipheimer to Withdraw". Thetimes.co.uk. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
- Richard Tyler (September 1, 2009). "Leipheimer signs with RadioShack for two years". Cycling News. Retrieved September 2, 2009.
- Kirsten Frattini (May 23, 2011). "Horner 100 Per Cent Focused On Tour De France After California Victory". Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- "Horner, 39, oldest to win Tour of California". The San Francisco Chronicle. May 23, 2011.
- Press Association (June 19, 2011). "Levi Leipheimer snatches Tour de Suisse victory from Damiano Cunego". theguardian.com. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
- Benson, Daniel (September 21, 2011). "Lefevere confirms that Leipheimer will ride for Omega Pharma-Quickstep". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
- "Leipheimer sidelined with fibula fracture". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. April 5, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
- James Raia (May 13, 2012). "Levi's stirring comeback energizes fans". Press Democrat. 2012 PressDemocrat.com. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- Weislo, Laura (May 20, 2012). "Gesink seals overall victory in Tour of California". Cyling News. Future Publishing Limited. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- "Frank Schleck attacks, Rui Costa defends to win 2012 Tour de Suisse". Velo News. 2012 Competitor Group, Inc. June 18, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- Pat Malach (August 13, 2012). "Leipheimer wins final stage at Tour of Utah". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- "Vande Velde stuns Leipheimer, taking overall victory". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. August 27, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- "Cyclist Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa dropped from Quick-Step team". San Jose Mercury News. October 16, 2012.
- Leipheimer, Levi (October 10, 2012). "Leipheimer: Why I Doped". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
Today, I accept responsibility and Usada's sanctions for participating in the dirty past of cycling. I've been racing clean for more than 5 years in a changed and much cleaner sport.
- "Omega Pharma terminates Leipheimer's contract". Velonews.com. October 16, 2012. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step has terminated its contract with American Levi Leipheimer following his admission last week that he doped between 1999 and 2007. Leipheimer was a witness in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's case against Lance Armstrong and detailed his use of performance enhancing drugs in an affidavit and in an op-ed for the website of The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
- Benefield, Kerry (May 19, 2013). "Pro cyclist Levi Leipheimer announces retirement". The Press Democrat. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
Santa Rosa's Levi Leipheimer said Sunday he's retired from professional cycling, becoming the latest casualty of a massive doping scandal that saw disgraced champion Lance Armstrong banned from the sport for life.
- Anh-Minh Le (June 23, 2007). "At home with Levi Leipheimer and Odessa Gunn". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- "Levi Leipheimer to Star in PETA Ad," Canadian Cyclist, September 19, 2007.
- "Top Cyclist's Inspiring "The Story of Levi Leipheimer - The Levi Effect" Rides into Cinemas". Entertainment Magazine EMOL.org. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
- "Leipheimer Accepts USADA Sanction Following Doping Admission". Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
- "New winners emerge from Contador's suspension". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. February 7, 2012. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
- "Tour de San Luis (ARG), 25 Jan 2012 - Stage 3: Estancia Grande - Mirador de Potrero". Union Cycliste Internationale. Infostrada Sports. Retrieved February 19, 2012.