Sprint Finish Maintains Levi's GC Lead
Levi Leipheimer will go into Stage 7 of Tour de San Luis maintaining his 46 second lead over Alberto Contador (Team Saxo Bank) after Stage 6 of Tour de San Luis ended in a sprint finish.
Tom Boonen placed fifth in the stage — appearing to sit up just meters from the finish line, having possibly started his sprint too early. Elia Viviani (Liquigas) won the stage, JJ Haedo (Team Saxo Bank) took second and Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) was third.
"Tom wanted to go for the sprint," said Sport Director Davide Bramati. "(Francesco) Chicchi was leading Tom in the final meters but then something went wrong. Tom was forced to launch his own sprint too soon and he couldn't maintain his speed in the very last meters. Tomorrow the sprinters will get another chance. We're going to try to fight for victory. However, first and foremost the team will rally around Levi to defend his lead in the rankings."
The stage, a 201 km race that included only three climbs — two of them being early on in the race, and the last preceding a fast downhill for 31 km or so into the race finish.
As many as nine riders established as much as a 11-plus minute gap on the peloton, but the peloton was able to reel the group in with 20 km to go. The course set the stage perfectly for a sprint finish.
It was a hot day of racing for the peloton, as temperatures reached about 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Farenheit).
Leipheimer finished 27th, and Contador 28th.
"Even today the guys were super," said Leipheimer. "All I had to do was stay covered and let them carry me to the arrival. A stage as long as today's can always present some surprises. I'm happy that there were no problems. Tomorrow is going to be all about staying concentrated until the very last meters so we can crown a week that's been magical for our squad."