Levi Leipheimer rode solo to victory in the sixth and final stage of the 2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. With a season that has had dramatic ups & downs, putting his stamp on the race he’d previously won twice was a priority.
“I treat these races on home soil with great respect and asked that the organizers continue to raise the bar. They really delivered, putting the hardest climb I’ve done in America–maybe the hardest anywhere–in the finale,” Levi said.
His chances of 3-peating were effectively hindered on an earlier stage, the team time trial, when luck was not with the Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad. Levi took the setback as extra motivation, and had targeted the Empire Pass climb as a launch pad for an attack.
“I’ve trained on that climb a dozen times. The surface is rough, basically a thin strip of pavement over dirt. I knew it would be hard, really hard, and a chance to make a difference.”
Levi delivered, riding thru an earlier break to take the lead and finish 49 seconds ahead of his nearest chasers. The effort erased most of the overall deficit, putting him back in the top ten to finish 6th overall.
“Not the overall result we wanted, but we made the best of it, and good to finish with a win. I’m in great shape, healthy, and super-motivated to go good at the US Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.”