Levi Leipheimer out to reclaim throne as King of California 

Levi Leipheimer has been the mainstay in the Amgen Tour of California in its six years of existence and looks to reclaim the top spot in the fast-growing race in 2011.

Leipheimer lost his bid at a fourth straight Tour of California by 25 seconds last year, finishing third.

A couple months later, he finished eighth in the Tour de France.

Michael Rogers, the 2010 winner, and Dave Zabriskie were able to outlast Leipheimer, pulling away in the 84-mile stage through the mountainous terrain of Thousand Oaks and Agoura Hills.

Leipheimer, who resides in Santa Rosa, has been training in Utah in preparation for the beginning of the racing season. But the 37-year-old’s quest for a fourth Tour of California championship will not be an easy one.

An injury will  prevent Rogers from defending his title despite very strong 2010. The Australian pre-empted his win at the Tour of California with a win at the Vuelta a Andalucia.

Twenty-five-year-old Andy Schleck is quickly rising after finishing second in the Tour de France last year and winning a time-trial championship.

Earning points and youth classification in the 2010 Tour of California has placed 21-year-old Peter Sagan in the conversation of contenders for the 2011 title.

Other racers are not the only obstacle facing the 14-year veteran Leipheimer.

He has not won a major race since breaking his wrist in the 2009 Tour de France.

He was in fourth place when he had to withdraw at the end of Stage 12.

Team RadioShack will be sending eight riders, including Leipheimer, to push for its first Tour of California team title.

Leipheimer enters the race at 62nd in the UCI World Tour rankings.


Ready to ride

A glance at the 18 teams competing in the Amgen Tour of California. Due to operational issues, the previously announced Columbian-based Movistar Team will not be participating in the race:


Country: Italy

Top rider: Peter Sagan

Rabobank Cycling Team

Country: Netherlands

Top rider: Oscar Freire


Country: USA

Top rider: Tejay Van Garderen


Country: USA

Top rider: Levi Leipheimer

Saxo Bank SunGard

Country: Denmark

Top rider: Juan Jose Haedo

BMC Racing Team

Country: USA

Top rider: George Hincapie

Team Garmin-Cervélo

Country: USA

Top rider: Thor Hushovd

Bissell Pro Cycling

Country: USA

Top rider: Chris Baldwin

Jelly Belly Presented by Kenda

Country: USA

Top rider: Ken Hanson

Kelly Benefit Strategies

Country: USA

Top rider: Andrew Bajadali

SpiderTech Powered By C10

Country: Canada

Top rider: Svein Tuft

Team Type 1 — sanofi-aventis

Country: USA

Top rider: Rubens Bertogliati


Country: USA

Top rider: Rory Sutherland

Sky Procycling

Country: Great Britain

Top rider: Kurt-Asle Arvesen

Team NetApp

Country: Germany

Top rider: Jesus Del Nero Montes

Leopard Trek

Country: Luxembourg

Top rider: Andy Schleck

Kenda/5-Hour Energy Pro Cycling

Country: USA

Top riders: Benjamin Day, Luca Damiani

Jamis-Sutter Home

Country: USA

Top riders: Luis Romero Amara, Tyler Wren

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Zack Farmer

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