Levi Leipheimer (Astana) showed again today that he is a dominating force in the individual time trial by winning the second stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, a 28.2-kilometer timed event.
Leipheimer, the winner of last month's Tour of California time trial, as well as the winner of both time trials last year in the Tour of Spain, set a blistering time on a flat, windswept course that greeted riders with a fierce headwind on the returning stretch of road.
This headwind served to ruin the hopes of many riders. Riders like Alberto Contador (Astana) and Denis Menchov (Rabobank) were significantly ahead of the American on the first part of their ride with the help of the tailwind, but it was Leipheimer who gritted his teeth and pushed through the hardest back into the strong headwind.
With this stage victory today, Leipheimer takes over the overall lead in Castilla y Leon.
Proving that his Paris-Nice time-trial victory two weeks ago was no fluke, Leipheimer's teammate Alberto Contador stopped the clock in second place, 18 seconds behind his accomplished time-trialling teammate. US TT champion David Zabriskie (Garmin) rounded out the podium.
As Leipheimer said in an interview after the stage, Astana is in full control of the race, with him in first and Contador in second, and now are well in contention for the overall victory in a few days time.
Astana has brought an accomplished squad to the race, with the likes of Leipheimer, Contador, and Haimar Zubeldia. They will be sure to not let victory slip from their grasp like they did in Paris-Nice earlier this month.
Tomorrow heads to the mountains and should bring out the riders who would like to take the jersey away from Astana.
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