Levi Leipheimer

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Levi Leipheimer
Levi Leipheimer Yellow Jersey.jpg
Leipheimer at the 2009 Tour of California
Personal information
Full nameLevi Leipheimer
Born (1973-10-24) October 24, 1973 (age 47)
Butte, Montana, U.S.
Height1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight62 kg (137 lb; 9.8 st)
Team information
Current teamRetired
Rider typeAll-rounder
Amateur teams
1995F.S. Maestro – Frigas
Professional teams
1997Comptel – Colorado Cyclist
2000–2001U.S. Postal Service
2007Discovery Channel
2010–2011Team RadioShack
2012Omega Pharma–Quick-Step
Major wins
Grand Tours
Tour de France
1 TTT stage (2009)
Vuelta a España
2 individual stages (2008)

Stage races

Tour of California (2007, 2008, 2009)
Tour de Suisse (2011)

One-day races and Classics

National Road Race Championships (2007)
National Time Trial Championships (1999)

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'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.[1] 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.[2]

In May 2013, Leipheimer confirmed his retirement from professional cycling following the termination of his contract with Omega Pharma-Quickstep.[3][4]

Early life and amateur career[edit]

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.[5] He moved to Belgium after graduation to race as an amateur, and turned professional in 1997.

Maestro Frigas and Einstein (1995–1996)[edit]

In 1995 Leipheimer won the Tour of Namur[6] as an intern for the British F.S. Maestro – Frigas team.[7]

1996 doping violation[edit]

Leipheimer, riding for Team Einstein, won the 1996 U.S. National Criterium Championships in Grandview Heights, Ohio,[8][9] 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.[10][11] 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.[12][13]

Professional career[edit]

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.

Rabobank (2002–2004)[edit]

He joined Dutch team Rabobank in 2002, and he finished 8th in his first Tour de France.

Leipheimer represented the United States in the 2004 Athens Olympics road race, but did not finish. He finished 9th in the 2004 Tour de France.

Gerolsteiner (2005–2006)[edit]

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 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 follows race leader George Hincapie in 2007 Tour of Missouri

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.[14] 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.

Astana (2008–2009)[edit]

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.[15] Leipheimer created a website to petition, unsuccessfully, for admittance to the 2008 Tour.

#33: Leipheimer on Alberto Contador's wheel in 2008 Vuelta a España

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 fifth 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.

Riding with Astana in the 2009 Tour de France, Leipheimer broke a wrist in a crash near the end of stage 12, when he was 4th overall, and abandoned the race.[16]

Team RadioShack (2010–2011)[edit]

Leipheimer moved, along with Armstrong and several others from Astana's 2009 team, to Team RadioShack for 2010.[17] 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.[18][19] 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.[20]

Leipheimer won the first edition of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, winning the first stage and the third stage time trial.

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.[21] 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.[22] 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.[23] He finished the race in sixth overall.[24]

Leipheimer in the 2012 Paris–Nice

Leipheimer followed his California performance with third place overall in the Tour de Suisse.[25] Leipheimer won a stage of the Tour of Utah,[26] and finished third overall in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, having led the race for one day.[27]

Omega Pharma-Quick Step terminated Leipheimer's contract in October, one week after his testimony to USADA.[28]


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.[29]

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.[30]

On May 19, 2013, Leipheimer admitted to The Press Democrat that he was "transitioning into the rest of my life." "I'm retired," he told them. "It's just been an 'unceremoniously' retired."[31]

Personal life[edit]

He has supported the charity PETA in an advertising campaign.[32]

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.[33]

Career achievements[edit]

Major results[edit]

All results from June 1, 1999 to July 30, 2006 and July 7 to 29, 2007 are stripped.[34]

1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour de la Province de Namur
1st Stage 2 Cascade Cycling Classic
1st Prologue Tour de Toona
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour de Beauce
1st Stage 3
1st MaillotUSA.PNG Time trial, National Road Championships
Voided results from June 1999 to July 30, 2006.[2]
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour de Beauce
1st Stage 3
2nd Road race, Pan American Games
3rd Sea Otter Classic
1st Stage 2 Circuit Franco-Belge
1st Stage 5 Redlands Bicycle Classic
1st Mountains Classification
1st Stage 1 Sea Otter Classic
2nd Overall Vuelta a Castilla y León
3rd Overall Vuelta a España
1st Jersey orange.svg Overall Route du Sud
1st Stage 3 (ITT)
8th Overall Tour de France
8th Overall Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
1st Stage 4 Setmana Catalana de Ciclisme
5th Overall Tour of the Basque Country
8th Overall Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
9th Overall Tour de France
1st Jersey gold.svg Overall Deutschland Tour
1st Jersey polkadot.svg Mountains classification
1st Stage 4
2nd Overall Tour de Georgia
3rd Overall Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
6th Overall Tour de France
1st Jersey yellow-bluebar.svg Overall Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
2nd Overall Deutschland Tour
1st Stage 5
6th Overall Tour of California
1st Jersey orange.svg Mountains classification
1st Prologue
Jersey red number.svg Combativity award Stage 18 Tour de France
1st MaillotUSA.PNG Road race, National Road Championships
1st USA Cycling Professional Tour
1st Jersey gold.svg 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
Voided results from July 7, 2007 to July 29, 2007.[2]
3rd Overall Tour de France
1st Stage 19 (ITT)
1st Jersey gold.svg Overall Tour of California
1st Stage 5 (ITT)
1st Jersey yellow.svg 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 Bronze medal olympic.svg Time trial, Olympic Games
4th Time trial, UCI Road World Championships
1st Jersey gold.svg Overall Tour of California
1st Stage 6 (ITT)
1st Jersey granate.svg Overall Vuelta a Castilla y León
1st Stage 2 (ITT)
1st Jersey yellow.svg 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 Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour of the Gila
1st Stage 1
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour of Utah
1st Stage 2
1st Leadville Trail 100 MTB (course record)
3rd Overall Tour of California
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall USA Pro Cycling Challenge
1st Stage 1 & 3
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour de Suisse
1st Jersey yellow.svg 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 Jersey orange.svg 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

General classification results timeline[edit]

Grand Tour general classification results
Grand Tour 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Pink jersey Giro d'Italia 18 5
Yellow jersey Tour de France 8 DNF 9 6 12 3 DNF 12 32 32
Gold jersey/Jersey red.svg Vuelta a España 3 58 2
Major stage race general classification results
Race 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Jersey white.svg/Jersey yellow.svg Paris–Nice 22 26 22 8 35
Jersey yellowred.svg/Jersey blue.svg Tirreno–Adriatico DNF
MaillotVolta.png Volta a Catalunya 43 44 20 21 23
Jersey yellow.svg Tour of the Basque Country 41 18 5 77 76
Jersey green.svg/Jersey yellow.svg Tour de Romandie 54
Jersey yellow-bluebar.svg Critérium du Dauphiné 8 8 3 1 24 3
Jersey yellow.svg Tour de Suisse 10 1 3
Did not compete
DNF Did not finish
No. Voided results


  1. ^ Retroactively awarded after Alberto Contador's results were disqualified following his backdated two-year ban in February 2012.[35][36]


  1. ^ "Statement From USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart Regarding The U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team Doping Conspiracy". USADA. October 10, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Levi Leipheimer acceptance of sanction" (PDF). Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  3. ^ "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, and Gerolsteiner.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ "Cool Montana Stories: Levi Leipheimer". Montanakids.com. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "F.S. Maestro – Frigas 1995", le site du cyclism
  8. ^ "Mention of Honor". Salt Lake Tribune. September 24, 1996. p. B2.
  9. ^ Mallozzi, Vincent M. (December 29, 1996). "Leipheimer wins US Criterium Title". The New York Times.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "Our readers speak - Letters to the editor". Montana Standard. July 9, 2006.
  13. ^ "WADA Prohibited List 2010" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 11, 2013. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  14. ^ The team name changed when U.S. Postal ended sponsorship. A sponsorship agreement was signed with Discovery Channel in 2005.
  15. ^ "Tour de France organizers exclude Astana team; Alberto Contador may not defend title". ESPN.com. Associated Press. February 13, 2008. Retrieved August 15, 2008.
  16. ^ Jeremy Whittle (July 17, 2009). "Broken Wrist Forces Levi Leipheimer to Withdraw". Thetimes.co.uk. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  17. ^ Richard Tyler (September 1, 2009). "Leipheimer signs with RadioShack for two years". Cycling News. Retrieved September 2, 2009.
  18. ^ Kirsten Frattini (May 23, 2011). "Horner 100 Per Cent Focused On Tour De France After California Victory". Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  19. ^ "Horner, 39, oldest to win Tour of California". The San Francisco Chronicle. May 23, 2011.
  20. ^ Press Association (June 19, 2011). "Levi Leipheimer snatches Tour de Suisse victory from Damiano Cunego". theguardian.com. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  21. ^ Benson, Daniel (September 21, 2011). "Lefevere confirms that Leipheimer will ride for Omega Pharma-Quickstep". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  22. ^ "Leipheimer sidelined with fibula fracture". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. April 5, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  23. ^ James Raia (May 13, 2012). "Levi's stirring comeback energizes fans". Press Democrat. 2012 PressDemocrat.com. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  24. ^ Weislo, Laura (May 20, 2012). "Gesink seals overall victory in Tour of California". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  25. ^ "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.
  26. ^ Pat Malach (August 13, 2012). "Leipheimer wins final stage at Tour of Utah". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  27. ^ "Vande Velde stuns Leipheimer, taking overall victory". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. August 27, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
  28. ^ "Cyclist Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa dropped from Quick-Step team". San Jose Mercury News. October 16, 2012.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ "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.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ "Levi Leipheimer to Star in PETA Ad," Canadian Cyclist, September 19, 2007.
  33. ^ "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.
  34. ^ "Leipheimer Accepts USADA Sanction Following Doping Admission". Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  35. ^ "New winners emerge from Contador's suspension". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. February 7, 2012. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
  36. ^ "Tour de San Luis (ARG), 25 Jan 2012 - Stage 3: Estancia Grande - Mirador de Potrero". Union Cycliste Internationale. Infostrada Sports. Archived from the original on December 21, 2014. Retrieved February 19, 2012.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
George Hincapie
USA National Road Race Champion
Succeeded by
Tyler Hamilton