Levi Winning Again

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I’d started this post last month when I read the Velonews article, linked below. I’d sort of dropped it, trying to stay away from dragging the old news doping scandals back into current news. Then I saw yesterday that Levi won the Crusher in the Tushar, a 70 mile epic race in Utah, promoted by Burke Swindlehurst. This is the 2nd year straight. The Velonew’s article says that Levi is retired from racing. If that is the case, why is the guy winning races that could define or be a platform for a rider’s career? Here is the start of my original post.

Levi Leipheimer did an interview with Neal Rogers at Velonews.

LL: I guess my motivation, for talking about all this, is that we’re trying to show some character — trying to be stand-up about it, trying to take responsibility for our actions. I realize some people don’t want to hear that, and that’s fine, but some people have been forgiving, and understanding, and they’ll hold us to a higher standard form here on out.

I’ve written a few posts on Levi. I don’t know him very well at all, and don’t want to. I didn’t like the way he rode when he was juiced to the gills and can’t applaud the way he handled his doping situation. Plus, I really dislike it when people use plurals to describe themselves. Levi does that, using we for I, us for me, etc.

I haven’t checked over at the Leadville site to see if they still consider Levi a winner of that event. I think so. That is complete BS. As is this result. Levi’s results from June of 1999 to July of 2006, were thrown out by USADA. Also, July 7-29 of 2007. What is that all about? It is funny that his results seem to be better after he claims to have started racing clean than before. He still keeps all his Tour of California results, a bronze medal at the Olympic Games, etc. Just click on his Wiki page here and see what a joke his sanction was.

When Levi does what Tyler did, or Floyd did, and come completely clean, then, maybe, I’ll think about giving him a chance to redeem himself. But, until that, I wish he’d just hang out in Northern California, breathing his Xenon gas or what ever he does, and reminisce about what a great of a cyclist he was, and quit coming out and stealing results from real bike racers like Jimmy Driscoll and Tyler Wren.

Mr. Levi "retired" Leipheimer,  just hanging out and doing epic gravel races in his spare time.

Mr. Levi “retired” Leipheimer, just hanging out and doing epic gravel races in his spare time.

51 thoughts on “Levi Winning Again

  1. joriverdog

    Agreed….Levi rode without the slightest bit of courage…never attacked, never took risks…he hid…and then to find out he was doping…Well it all adds up to a scared little boy..Sorry Levi..but that’s the way it is…Sack Up Dude

  2. joriverdog

    Oh…one more thing along this line of thinking…Why are Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwin along with C VV announcing the TDF …doping apologists with a admitted doper…it all stinks

  3. San Fransisco Jacks

    Gravel racing is paying out? kill me. just kill me. Unless, of course Levi is hosting jerk off parties in conjunction with said gravel races. His little hands would make my pecker look like George’s.

    There isn’t enough grease in the world to make the slide to hell fast enough to make these guys go away. When do their hearts explode? and not with the happiness of post party ejaculation.. just good old, out of the blue while walking up stairs.. that would suffice.

  4. Ben

    Im pretty sure Leadville is not (or at least was not) USAC sanctioned, meaning not WADA jurisdiction, so his results stand. Its stupid but its how Lance got into all those tri’s right about the time of his ban, they arent USAT sanctioned.

  5. channel_zero

    Leadville was USAC sanctioned a couple of times in all the times the race has been run. Promoter apparently will not vacate dopers results. Which, if they did, would make Dave Wiens a 7x Leadville Winner. I guess they can’t have that.

    Someone needs to call out Burke for inviting this doper.

    Levi posted some comments on Strava trying to smooth over the ugly fact he won a race. What a scumbag. http://www.strava.com/activities/165089750 Strava is **heavily** moderating comments and it just makes the doping problem worse.

  6. Jeff M

    I can’t believe this guy would even think about racing?! The audacity of him is unbelievable. Jesus Christ…
    This just goes to show why he doped and thought it was ‘ok’ in the first place. Other riders who race against him should throw rotten tomatoes at him during the race. The irony, those riders would get DQ’d for it but Levi would be able to continue riding. What’s wrong with this world…??? Argh…

  7. joriverdog

    I have to concur with Jeff’s reaction…this is my third comment because I am so ”blown away” that this guy has no SHAME! Is this what this sport has come to? If he was an 800 meter world class runner and got popped or admitted to all his doping, he could not even show up to watch a meet. What a piece of work…

  8. James

    Interesting Strava thread. Me thinks Levi is going to get a contract next year, otherwise, why the constant beating and subsequent need for a 24/7 pr campaign? That’ll really fire ya up ST? Does me…

  9. Jason

    I was having the same reaction as you when I saw the Crusher results. I really don’t care about the Pro Tour stuff any more, but these guys need to stay away from local mountain bike and ultracross races. It’s just pathetic.

  10. Bolas Azules

    Am I the only person that thinks Levi would have been a pretty marginal club rider without the go-go juice? Or is he like all the others that were this great young riders that never even heard of PEDs until his 4th-5th grand tour?

    My day, he would have had a hard time staying up-right.

  11. Roberto

    Last year when they had Levi on an open forum on the internet (which Steve mentioned in a blog) questioning Levi on his prowess post Leadville or Cequemegon 40 (can’t remember) the commentator took questions online with Levi answering on camera…. I sent inquiries as to his doping situation and asked him if he thought he was fair game now or just what the deal was…? They refused to have him answer any and I saw them kinda disregard those inquiries; …… until I sent a non-controversial question about how his MTB compared with his Road riding…! That he answered. Guess Levi has gotta stick to the easy questions~~~!!

  12. Inga Thompson

    It’s obviously heavily moderated. I tried commenting, but there was no where to comment. My Fav is the self professed Dr. of Orthopedics and Phd is Exercise Metabolism make comments that they could push themselves to insane levels. WHAT….This guy is a Doc? Doesn’t he know they can do that because of the drugs? If he’s truly a doc, he also knows there is long lasting results even after you stop taking drugs. Maybe someone should send him the current studies. Put your full name out there, Dude. Otherwise, you’re a hack that doesn’t know what he’s talking about….


  13. Francisco Mancebo

    Allegedly, that $250 represents his only income for the last few years. Probably not worth his effort, might cover food for all the yippie dogs he has for like a week

    So what does this all say about Swindlehurst in the big scheme of things? Birds of a feather stick together. Guess a career of getting pounded by dopers isn’t all that disheartening…unless he was in on it

    If Levi was a man he’d do a real endurance MTB race, not one of these things that requires absolutely zero technical skill

  14. InTheKnow

    Not mentioned by Steve — that Levi is the only one of the US dopers who has to PAYBACK HIS ENTIRE PRIZE MONIES before getting a racing license again. (Read the fine print in his sanction from USADA.)

    In Steve’s words – “What is that all about?”

  15. T$

    I’ve had the misfortune of racing against 2 of the most notorious dopers when they were youngsters; Tyler Hamilton back east, when he was an 18 year old phenom riding for CCB, and in 1993 with Levi when he rode for the local MiDuole club in SLC. What I can tell you is this: neither one were just average. The similarities are uncanny. Both former youth ski racers, both super competitive personalities, both great athletes, and neither one of them THAT much better than me at the time, at least in my not so humble estimation of my abilities.

    Not once back then did I think I couldn’t beat either one of them (although I rarely did, when it came right down to it). At last Saturday’s Crusher race, when Levi erased a 4 minute gap I had on the first climb and bridged up solo and then shortly after dropped me, I didn’t feel the same way about being able to beat him, and I don’t have a self-esteem problem. There is believable, and there are unicorns. On Saturday, there was a unicorn.

    The thing about modern methodical systematic doping in cycling: it’s the gift that keeps on giving. In Levi’s case, I truly believe the physical transformations that occurred in his body (enabled only by doping to get to that level) of having done multiple grand tours has left him with a physical toolset that other 40 year olds don’t have. Let me tell you what most other 40 year olds (in my case, 46 year old) bike racers also don’t have: the continued lifestyle of a former professional cyclist, unfettered by the responsibilities of earning a living some other way to support themselves and their family, and if there is a little time, money, and motivation left over, the will to continue racing at as high a level as possible, even if it’s just for hobby.

    I don’t pretend to know the details about Levi’s personal life, but I see on Strava that in the last 4 weeks before the Crusher, he averaged 22 hrs per week to my 11. He did a 100+ miler the Weds before the Crusher. Who the hell has the time to do that, and be able to recover? Not someone working for a living. He has a website called levination.com and I see that he is still currently sponsored by companies like Specialized, Sram, Zipp, and Oakley. The thought that a penny of my discretionary income (not earned from bike racing) has gone to companies that give him product for free is making me ill as I type this. And I will never again enter a race where I have to pay to race with the “pros”, but guys like Levi get comped.

    I would love to race against Levi and Tyler again on equal footing. But that will never happen. I don’t resent them for doing what they did, but I do resent Levi for what he is currently doing. I would prefer to keep racing every now and again, and not have my performances marginalized by someone who gained so much by cheating. Levi’s supporters seem to beg for forgiveness, but I think it’s more like forgetfulness. I can forgive, but forgetting is harder. I don’t hate Levi. I barely know him. But I think I’m done paying money to ride with him.

    The answer to your question, fair and honest in my opinion: no. Levi was never just a marginal club racer. I’m not giving him any undue credit. Have I seen better? Tons. Tons of young guys with equal or more potential who didn’t go where he went.

  16. wheelman61

    That Strava comment string was otherworldly. I don’t think I’ve ever read such a collection of fanboi and apologist comments in one place. If Levi wants to make amends to the cycling community he should grab a broom and sweep a corner at a local criterium, but never compete at any level. I someone asks him why he won’t pin a number on again he could say “Because I cheated, because I diminished the sport we all love, because I don’t ever want my credibility or the legitimacy of my results to be questioned again”

  17. james Stout

    at the CitT a few of us broke away early, soon to be joined by Levi, we made sure he knew our opinions on his past before he floated away on a cloud of xenon and bad karma.

  18. Steve Boehmke

    and now Dave Wiens and Mike Kloser are tweeting photos of them out training with Lance! Wiens, who was totally cheated on by those guys! And Kloser, who has a daughter in the Olympics, and probably had his career cut short from dopers. Ughhh. they are both awesome dudes, maybe to a fault. I don’t get it.

  19. Chad Salla

    Good post, Levi is definitely one of the guys that just needs to go away. Its going to take the big guys (Velonews) to stop writing stories and doing interviews though. It really sucks that asshat took $2500 from real racers that could actually use that money.

  20. H Luce

    What it’s going to take is riders looking at entry lists, seeing Levi’s name and saying “F* that, I’m not racing against a cheat, give me my money back, screw this” and walking out. If about 3/4 of the field does this, and on a regular basis, Levi will be like Kryptonite, he’ll be radioactive, no one will touch him, he’ll spell an instant loss for a promoter, not a gain, and he’ll be unwelcome at the least.

  21. Jim B.

    This guy Levi has probably been doping for the biggest part of his career. I remember talking to him in Grandview, Ohio in 1996 after he had just (accidentally) won the USA Crit Chp. (I was in the VIP tent where he was sent after the race.) He was in a breakaway that lapped the field and he somehow lost track of the other breakaway guys and seemed very surprised to have won, saying that he had just returned from Europe and was using this race as training. After the awards he was sent off for a urine test which, we learned several weeks later, he failed and received his first PED suspension. Ephedrine. 3 months, I think, back then and during the off season anyway. He should just go away.

  22. William Stevenson

    Face it. As much as it turns my stomach these turds just keep staying in the bowl.

  23. B

    There have been some great comments to the original post and some very good points made. I think Levi was juiced for a very long time, too. Like most of those guys. Most importantly, the doping gifts just keep on giving like Inga Thompson said. So, these guys who have been nailed on doping or who have admitted their doping should not be competing at all. It was not fair when they were doing the drugs and it is still not fair years after. It is a sorry state for them, but spare a thought or two for the guy or gal who has been training and racing clean and has been paying race fees for all these years. To get slammed by Levi in The Crusher and then to watch him pick up a check for the win would be a huge insult.

    Let’s face it. Cycling for a very long time has been an unfair sport. That sucks in so many ways it ain’t funny.

  24. The Instigator

    Isn’t the time to ‘take responsibility for our actions’ sometime before we decide to cheat?

  25. Scott

    Did the call of ‘Doper Back’/’Doper ahead’ echo through the pack – you know, just to identify the hazard?

  26. kris walker

    Levi sucks. I really love the crusher and think Burke is a great guy but I won’t do this race again if Levi is allowed to come steal from people who race clean for a living.
    Sometimes you have to vote with your wallet.

  27. Bolas Azules

    T$ great post. I really do think the PED use really is “the gift that keeps on giving” with many residual benefits lasting longer than 10 years. As for the’marginal club rider’ statement. I grew up in a petty incredible ‘club’ (state, national, Olympic & world champs) so I have to temper it a bit….but great post.

  28. Pingback: Doping News During the Tour, Let Lance Keep his Titles??, Levi Follow-up | Steve Tilford

  29. Jared Nelson

    Good stuff T$.

    I think we are talking about the wrong guy. Lindine trashed his wheel before the big descent and spent the rest of the day in his chamios at an aid station handing out water and coke. This is the guy we should be talking about!

  30. Dave Harris

    A known career doper was allowed to race, is the result a real surprise to anyone? All this angst against LL I think is misdirected. Don’t let him race or let him race and accept the results, we don’t get it both ways.

  31. Pete O

    Da da da… Do dit do, Da da da,
    Won’t you tell me how to get, how to get to Seasame Street.

  32. pb

    Same goes for the local Grasshopper series that Levi attended & “won” while suspended. Levi’s claims, & that of the promoter Miguel, that his event doesn’t fall under USAC are/were untrue when all the local pros in attendance got cease & desist letters from USAC for partaking in the event, while shitbag (who was supposedly serving his suspension) had his results stricken from the record as not having participated.

  33. Eric

    F**k Levi!! He was and probably still is a doping bitch!! He couldn’t ride with the big dogs when he was on the sauce and couldn’t do it without…hence the “retirement”. No team wants a rider who is slow even when they dope…DOPERS SUCK!!!!

  34. The Whole Truth

    Seems that what we’re really hearing from most of you here is how grateful you are that Levi raced and was allowed to race. Otherwise, how else would you all get to broadcast your tales of self-righteous indignation and woulda/coulda/shoulda delusion. Sounds like a bunch of people who stick a bicycle between their legs in hopes of somehow escaping their own self loathing and inability to own personal failures. You. Levi. Everyone else. You couldn’t exist without each other.
    Do you like apples?

  35. Inga Thompson

    That was sort of interesting…..not in a note worthy way, more pathetic type of interesting.


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