Stage 5 – Post ITT Quotes


03-levi.jpgLevi Leipheimer (USA), General Classification Leader and Stage 5 Winner

On today’s race:
“It was another great day for me here in Solvang. I’m just so happy and proud. I gave it my all today. Every time I had my doubts, I just told myself to do my best. The sign of a good time trial is that you don’t remember a lot of it, and I don’t remember a lot from today. Fortunately, I knew the course well, so I knew how to pace myself; I knew I had something left towards the end. With every kilometer, I was just yelling at myself to keep going. When I came to the last corner, I just hoped I didn’t crash since I was a little cross-eyed. This may be an even bigger win for me this year.”

“I gave 100 percent today. I didn’t hold back. I took the corners great, pushed myself in all the right places; the only fight I had to win was the one in my head.”

On wearing the Amgen Leader Jersey:

“I’ll try to defend this to the end since my team has done everything to put me in this place. They’ve been amazing all through the race, and yesterday, they were in front for nearly seven hours, so today I didn’t want to let them down.”

On how he felt before today’s time trial:
“To be honest, I was nervous. I’m not going to try and act like I’m a machine; I had my doubts. I just told myself to do my best. I knew it was going to be ugly, but I knew I’d fight. I wanted to show that we’re a fighting team and we’re not going to back down. I trained all winter for this. Astana has something to prove. We are the best team in the world and we need to be in the big races.”

On today’s conditions:
“The conditions were the same as last year; a little windy. I had to make a decision on equipment, but obviously, it was a good choice, a good decision.”

On Cancellara’s performance at today’s time trial:

“We’re not machines. Fabian made an amazing performance the other day; he blew everyone away and showed lots of guts, but you pay for that, and obviously, today was not a normal day for him. He’s better than that, and I guess I’m just a little bit lucky.”

On the race overall:

“All of the communities we’ve raced in throughout California have been exceptional, and Solvang is no different; they’ve been awesome. I’ve spent two of the most memorable racing days of my life here in Solvang, so I love coming here; it’s so beautiful. I saw my name on the road several times and I heard the support everywhere. I can’t thank the crowds enough for coming out.”

01-millar.jpgDavid Millar (GBR), Second Place, Stage 5
Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30

On today’s time trial:
“We checked out the course last week, so I felt comfortable. I made a mistake in the Prologue by going out too easy, so this time my goal was to start strong. Luckily, you didn’t have much of a choice but to go hard out of the gate because of the first climb. The course was pretty dynamic with all the turns, and I was making the most out of it. There were places on the course that allowed you to go hard or easy, which was nice. It was a beautiful course.”

On the fans:
“I even enjoyed the pain today. The crowds were wild. I don’t usually notice them when time trialing because I’m so focused on what is happening in front of me and in serious pain, but the fans were there cheering at the top of the hill and everywhere else it seemed. It was like being in Europe, I loved it.”

On recovering from yesterday’s race:
“Yesterday was definitely one of the top-5 worst days, weather wise. I just ate loads this morning and then my team director had me on the bike early today, which was probably the best thing I could have done. When I got on the bike, I felt great. If you are fit, you can kind of soak up anything.”

On team morale:

“Morale couldn’t be better. We came here with a point to prove ourselves and to show everybody who we are and how we race. We are not the type of team to sit back and take it easy, and I think we definitely proved that we are one of the strongest teams here. We are very proud of what we’ve achieved. I think we are on our way to doing something unique. I’ve never enjoyed cycling so much; it has been magic really. We are working so hard, but this is just the beginning.”

02-cvv.jpgChristian Vande Velde (USA), Third Place, Stage 5
Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30

On today’s time trial:
“I don’t know what to say except I’m really happy to be here. I’m having fun, I’m on a new team and I’m on the podium on a beautiful day. It’s a really good feeling being here. I surprised myself today; I really expected Cancellara to win. I’ve started to put a little more pressure on myself and I really wanted to get up on the podium. It was very windy out there today. There were a few times when I was going downhill that I almost got thrown off my bike, which kind of stayed in my head throughout the race.”

On tomorrow’s race:
“Who knows what tomorrow will bring. It will probably be a combination of a lot of teams going after it; guns blazing just like every year. There are some really nasty climbs, so I’m sure everyone will be tired. Yesterday was a big day for everyone.”

On team morale:

“I think my grin says it all; I’m just trying to let it sink in. I feel really comfortable on this team. I really thought we’d do great. All the work we have put in is really starting to pay off. Hopefully we can continue this momentum for the rest of the year. I’m just proud to be here and be a part of this team.”

Fabian Cancellara (SUI), Fifth Place, Stage 5
Team CSC

On today’s race:
“I think today was a statement about my actual fitness. I did a very good stage to San Jose, and I think I paid the price today. I came here to help my team and win a stage, but my role was changed suddenly when I was second in the GC. It was evident today that Levi is a better rider now. We will have to see what’s possible in the next two stages. They are not flat and Levi is climbing well, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Scott Nydam (USA), California Travel & Tourism King of the Mountains Leader
Team BMC

On teammate Jackson Stewart (USA):
“I’m wearing this jersey for Jackson Stewart. He earned this with a brave ride, but the elements didn’t let him finish his work. I’m happy to defend this jersey for him, my team and myself.”

Dominique Rollin (CAN), Herablife Sprint Jersey and Tachyon Most Aggressive Jersey Leader
Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team

On today’s race:
“I took it easy today after yesterday’s fight, but it’s not like I’m eating ice cream and burritos just yet; I’m still here to do my work and focus on the tough mountain climbs and sprints in the next two days. I like the color green, and I hope to be in green (Herbalife Sprint Jersey) when I wake up Monday morning.”

Robert Gesink (NED), Union Bank Best Young Rider Jersey Leader

On participating in the Amgen Tour of California:
“I’m so happy to be here. It’s a day with sun and crowds and only 35 minutes of riding to keep my jersey (Union Bank Best Young Rider). I think I’ll be wearing this home in a few days. I’m planning to come back every year. I love this race; it’s unique in the world. I hope it will grow and continue for many years to come.”

Andrew Messick, President, AEG Sports
Presenter of the Amgen Tour of California

On the race overall:
“The race has been fantastic. We were all a little discouraged yesterday afternoon, but after reflecting for the past 24 hours, we think that yesterday will be remembered mostly as an epic stage highlighted by the emergence of another new talent, Dominique Rollin, who attacked alone after nearly seven hours of riding in the wind and rain to take the stage. All the riders had a really rough day.”

On the crowds in Solvang:
“Solvang has been fantastic; the support here is tremendous. The roads were packed and it was a true celebration of American cycling. The time gap between the three leaders is minimal, so we’ve got two terrific days of racing ahead of us.”

On AEG’s partnership with USA Cycling and UCI:
“USA Cycling and UCI have been critical partners for us in establishing the ground rules in a fight to make sure the Amgen Tour of California is a clean and fair race; we couldn’t have done it without them.”

04-mcquaid.jpgPat McQuaid, President, UCI
On the Amgen Tour of California:
“I have watched the Amgen Tour of California for the last couple of years, and without a doubt, it’s getting bigger and better. The race is gaining more and more acceptance; the field couldn’t be much better. Just the size and scale is getting better. By in large, there is no doubt that this is the biggest and best race in the U.S. This race has a big future, and if AEG wishes to take it to a new level, we’d be willing to help them get there.”

“We do plan to discuss a strategy for this race moving forward; there is really no limit to the amount of days to which this race could grow. There are only three Grand Tours at the moment, but there is no reason why there couldn’t be more; this race is certainly a good candidate. The Amgen Tour of California is one of the top-tier events of the season.”

On yesterday’s stage:

“Yesterday was one of the worst days any cyclist could go through, and it will be remembered for years to come. What really amazed me though was the number of fans out on the road. Taking into account the geography and the weather, it was amazing to me that those fans braved the weather for hours on end just to cheer on the riders. Even when we got into San Luis Obispo, where the fans had to wait an extra hour for the riders to come in, the atmosphere was just superb; everyone was still cheerful.”

Steve Johnson, CEO, USA Cycling
On the Amgen Tour of California:

“The Amgen Tour of California certainly kicks off the season, and it seems like each year, we are describing this race with new superlatives. As was already mentioned, each year, a new rider always seems to make a statement. This race is really a great platform for new American riders, and it brings the best teams in the world to the U.S. It’s very clear that the American fans who come out to watch this race appreciate the fact that the best riders in the world are here to race for them.”

“As a result of the Amgen Tour of California, we fully expect to see an American on a podium some day that got there because this race inspired them when they were young. This race is wonderful; a great way to kick off each season.”

Photo c. Stephanie Gutowski

About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.

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  • David "SPIKE!" Shuppert says:

    From a FANFANATIC, thanks for the coverage and interviews.
    Not quite like being there but great none the less, and especially appreciated in bringing us the nitty gritty feeling, emotions and experiences of the riders.
    Rider comments about the the AMGEN and the state of Cycling here in the the U.S., vis a vis Europe and the rest of the World, are particularly interesting and encouraging. Seeing so many American and non-American riders aboard powerful American teams really demonstrates the evolution of the sport brought on by the Armstrong era (Thanks Lance!).
    My take on this is that American dominance has arrived and is surging.
    As a Yank, this is on a personal level exciting stuff for sure…but more so, for Cycling, successful early season tours (ie the AMGEN) followed and applauded by so many, bespeaks deep felt public support for the excitement and pleasure of Cycling, and this inspite of the flood of negative publicity over the past several years.
    Yes, when things get really baaad…we all need a hero…ie, Tina Turner’s lyrics in the Mad Max movie…and from that fictional drama transposed into the real life world of today…insanity has gotten out of hand…and yes, the public desperately needs and wants redeeming heros.
    Now, if we can just see a return of sanity to the managements of the European Tours, perhaps, maybe just perhaps, Cycling can move beyond irrationality, and onward into some truly golden, glorious times…quite obviously, there is a plethora of heroic cycling talent ready, willing and able to make it so.

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