Astana on winning form
Team Astana ended the weekend with a double win, the team riding to victory in both the Tour of California and Tour of Algarve. Levi Leipheimer took a third successive win in the Tour of California, while in the Tour of Algarve, Alberto Contador took his first win of the 2009 season.
Contador secured his first title of 2009 after victory in the time trial in Tavira. The Algarve win is his 9th victory in a stage race as a professional rider.
“This is the first step toward preparing for the Tour", said Contador. “I had a good training camp, but I never know what to expect in my first race. The team worked hard and when the opportunity presented itself, we capitalized. Now I will look to Paris-Nice, a race that I won two years ago."
Meanwhile, Leipheimer captured his third consecutive Amgen Tour of California title. “It gets sweeter and sweeter to win", said Leipheimer. “Once was awesome, twice was like “wow", but three times, is an exclamation point. It was an honor to have Lance Armstrong as a domestique for me and I hope to pay him back in future races."
Lance Armstrong finished 1min 46secs back in a strong seventh place, and provided valuable support for Leipheimer in a team which hardly lacks depth of talent.
“I cannot complain about the results and how I feel on the bike," says Armstrong, “but I still have to work on my bike position. To improve in the mountains, I surely have to lose weight. I am already strong enough, but I need to get lighter."