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Leipheimer, Contador 1-2 in Spain

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While Astana teammate Lance Armstrong was heading home to Texas to have surgery on his broken collarbone, Amgen Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer and 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador are now in first and second place in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon after Tuesday’s stage, an individual time trial. Leipheimer, who also won the Tour of California time trial in Solvang, finished the course in 33 minutes, 27 seconds, 16 seconds faster than Contador. U.S. time trial champion Dave Zabriskie of Garmin-Slipstream was third, 22 seconds behind.

Via the Astana press office, Leipheimer said, ‘It was a good time trial for me, especially as it was always straight. However, it was hard. There was a lot of wind and you could never recover, you had to push all the time.’

Leipheimer missed 10 days of training after the Tour of California because of a fracture near his tailbone, but he said the time off has helped him feel fresh here in Spain. Contador said that because of Tuesday’s results the Astana team will work to get the overall victory now for Leipheimer.

Contador also made a gracious wish for Armstrong. ‘I hope Lance can share a little bit of this victory and it will help with his motivation to come back,’ Contador said. ‘Yesterday I was very disappointed for him because we were having such a great time together and it is very fun to see him motivated and getting stronger. It brings everyone else’s motivation higher.’

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-- Diane Pucin

Left photo: Levi Leipheimer pedals through the second stage time trial of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon on Tuesday. Right photo: Alberto Contador competes during the second stage time trial. Credit: Ruben Garcia / Associated Press


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