Santa Rosa native Levi Leipheimer saw his tour goals take a major hit Thursday on the sixth stage of the 2011 edition of the Tour de France. On a stage full of nasty weather where the roads were drenched and dangerous, Levi crashed for the second day in a row, this time losing a significant chunk of time to the other GC competitors as a result.
While this crash was not nearly as bad as the crash which Levi injured his wrist on in stage five, this one might hurt even more. Before today's stage, Levi sat in 14th place, seconds behind the yellow jersey and was still a minute and twenty-four seconds ahead of tour favorite Alberto Contador. After his crash in stage six, Levi sits a minute and five seconds behind the other GC competitors and only nineteen seconds ahead of Contador.
The only solace that can be taken from today's stage is the fact that Levi did not injure himself any further. The crash came as Levi attempted to shoot the gap between the pelaton and a guard rail that ran along the side of the road. Levi was pushed into the rail and slid along it until it was no longer there to hold him up. Luckily for him, sliding along the rail slowed Levi down and he was not injured.
Combine Levi's injured wrist, lost time on today's stage and the fact that teammate Janez Brajkovic crashed out of the Tour on stage five, and the picture is not very bright for Levi. On stage seven, Levi will look to have a stage without incident as he attempts to get his legs under him in time for the mountain stages where the real race begins.