Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the roster for the AMGEN Tour of California. Levi Leipheimer and Tom Boonen spoke at the race press conference on Friday about the upcoming race, from May 13 through the 20th.
“First of all it’s a little special, this race,” Boonen said. “Coming back from a rest period, continuing after the Classics. I have only good memories of this tour. A really nice organization, the parcours is very nice. It’s the perfect race to get started again. There are three or four stages that will suit me, not just two. I am looking forward to getting a big result.”
Levi, who fractured his fibula after being hit by a car from behind while training in Pais Vasco on April 1, officially announced his intention to race the tour.
“The thought of not starting here, after working so long with so many people to make it happen, it just kills me,” Leipheimer, three-time winner of the AMGEN Tour of California, said. “It was important when the team got here that I was able to show them that I wouldn’t be a burden — a weak link. To show I wouldn’t just roll out, do 50km just for the first stage and then quit. It’s not fair to the team. I wanted to show them I worked hard enough to get into good shape to help those guys during the week, and use the race to build for the future. I am very pleased to announce I will start the race.”
Leipheimer made it clear to those in attendance that the injury to his leg was serious, as was the car accident, and he is still in the process of recovering.
“I have to be realistic,” Leipheimer said. “This wasn’t just a crack or a bruise or a hematoma. The bone was broken apart. You can see it on the X-Ray. … As pro athletes we’re always taught to reach for the stars and never give up, but I’ve obviously got to be realistic and tell pressure off myself.”
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Roster for Amgen Tour of California:
- Tom Boonen (BEL)
- Gerald Ciolek (GER)
- Dries Devenyns (BEL)
- Bert Grabsch (GER)
- Levi Leipheimer (USA)
- Frantisek Rabon (CZE)
- Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL)
- Peter Velits (SVK)