Stage 5 Quotes

Solvang – Time Trial

February 23, 2007











Shawn Hunter, President AEG Sports, Race Presenters

On race and fans

"Combining the best collection of cyclists ever to compete in the United States with an incredibly challenging and scenic course, the eyes of the cycling world are clearly focused on the last two days of the Amgen Tour of California.  With the title still on the line and two more days of exciting racing to come, we could not have hoped for better finishing stages than we are about to see in Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita and Long Beach."



Levi Leipheimer (Santa Rosa, Calif.) Stage 5 Winner, General Classification Leader

Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team

Stage 5  Post-Race Comments

Describing his ride

ÒThe first half of the course was a cross-head or direct headwind. It was really hard mentally because you werenÕt going very fast, the speed wasnÕt high, but thatÕs really where the time difference was made, there and on the hill. I just tried to stay one with my bike, to stay as straight as possible and keep the pressure on.Ó


On his motivation

ÒMy major motivation today, besides wanting to win, obviously, was that I did not want to go to the dinner table tonight and look my teammates in the eye and tell them ÔIÕm sorry but I could not defend the lead here.Õ ThatÕs what kept me going and I was able to push harder than normal. For me that time trial was personally a great achievement.Ó


On his level of caution

ÒI was taking some risks at one point I clipped a bush with my shoulder. Looking back I was thinking, 'Wow, I was going for it.' At the time I was just so focused. On the major climb, I gave it everything and stayed in the big chainring and sprinted over the top. I was a bit cross-eyed on the downhill, but I think I pulled it off.Ó


On the time gaps to Voigt (Leipheimer won today's stage by 18 seconds)

ÒIn the beginning I was very close (to the times of my teammates) and then I started to pull away. When I got to Los Olevos (half-way point), I heard the announcer say I was the best time, thatÕs always very motivating. Johan (Bruyneel, team director) was saying I was ahead of Jens Ôbut I donÕt know by how muchÕ, and then, with 5k to go, he told me I was 5 seconds ahead. I kind of thought he might be lying to me a little bit to make me go faster, and then with 2k to go he told me I was two seconds ahead! Those were the time checks I got and it definitely pushed me but he didnÕt say by how much.Ó




Jens Voigt (FRA) Second Place in Stage 5, Second Place in General Classification


Stage 5 Post-Race Comments

On his defeat by Leipheimer

ÒEvery day I give my best. Eighteen seconds just means he was just a little bit stronger than me. With two or three seconds you can say ah, maybe I should have taken the corners a little faster. But 18 seconds, I was just missing a little bit. But itÕs only February, itÕs early in the season there are a several races to come, so IÕm looking forward to that.


On team strategy for the final two days

ÒIt depends. Surely weÕre going to have a meeting and see what actually our options are and whatÕs possible, whatÕs not. If we really want to turn the whole thing around that means you gotta basically unleash hell on everybody. ItÕs going to be something like flat out from the start, it depends if we feel like weÕre ready for that. Maybe we just settle for another stage win.Ó



Jason McCartney (USA) Third Place in Stage 5

Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team

Stage 5 Post-Race Comments

Comparing this to European racing, and overall impressions of the race

ÒIÕve been skiing for the past couple of weeks. My legs are just now getting used to going up and down instead of side to side. IÕve been getting better and better the past couple of days. I kind of expected to do well, but I didnÕt know what would happen out there.Ó


On knowledge of the course

ÒIt was really windy. WeÕd ridden here with our training camp, so we knew the course and knew the race was to the top of the hill, then you have time to recover. Basically it was two time trials: to the top of the hill, and then take as many risks as you can on the downhillÉ We usually ride that way out to Figueroa, then this morning we rode it before the race.


On the final two days

ÒItÕs not done yet. CSCÕs stacked up in the top ten. We had to use a lot of energy the other day to San Jose, so weÕre kind of in a predicament. WeÕll just have to see how it goes.Ó



Jim Birrell

Race Director, Amgen Tour of California

Stage 5 Post-Race Comments

On race spectator figures

ÒToday our spectator figures, estimated by the California Highway Patrol, topped one million for the entire race. We have reached this point earlier this year than we did last year. We expect by the end of the final stage in Long Beach, that the figure will be more than 1.3 million. AEG has done a great job with marketing this event, particularly in going to the A team of Versus for the television broadcast. Ó



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