On April 1, while training in Spain the day before the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, American Levi Leipheimer was struck down by a car and suffered a broken fibula. Not only did the accident knock him out of the Pais Vasco, for which he was considered a favorite after a strong early season that included winning the overall at the Tour de San Luis, but it also dealt a serious blow to his hopes of winning his fourth Tour of California.
Just six weeks after the injury, Leipheimer, who admitted that he wasn't yet at his best, still rode to an impressive sixth place overall at California. Since then, he's been working hard to rehab the leg in preparation for his big goal of the season, the Tour de France. Speaking to us from an altitude training camp in Utah, the easy-going American told us about the accident, his subsequent recovery, and his plans and hopes for the rest of the season.
Congrats on Tour of Cali. Sixth overall with a leg issue has to be considered something of a success?
It’s a good race to start with after an injury. It’s relatively safe, the roads are big, the peloton is small. So it was a good one to come back to. I was happy with the ride, but it could have been better without the injury. The Tour of California has always been a big goal of my season, so it was disappointing in some ways, too.