Tour of California stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson>>

Levi Leipheimer (Astana) won his third consecutive Tour of California on Sunday. The American finished in the main bunch some 40 seconds behind lone stage winner Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank).

Leipheimer finished ninth on the stage to ensure his position at the top of the final classification ahead of David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) and third-placed Michael Rogers (Columbia-Highroad).

Britain’s Mark Cavendish (Columbia-Highroad) held on to his lead in the sprinter’s competition to come away with the green jersey. The Manxman won two stages in the tour, cementing his reputation as the fastest man in the world.

Leipheimer’s team-mate Lance Armstrong finished in seventh place overall, proving that the Texan is on track for this year’s Tour de France.

It was a tough edition of the race, with the opening stages marred by atrocious weather. The race also had a lengthy list of casualties, with rider such as Ivan Basso, Francisco Mancebo and Kim Kirchen withdrawing due to injury or illness. Of the 136 starters, only 84 made it to the finish line in Escondido.

Tour of California stage 8: results
1. Frank Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank in 3-48-39

2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 2secs
3. George Hincapie (USA) Columbia-Highroad at 40secs
4. Rory Sutherland (Aus) OUCH
5. Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank
6. Jose Rubiera (Spa) Astana
7. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Astana
8. Jens Voigt (Ger) Saxo Bank
9. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
10. Hubert Dupont (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
50. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia-Highroad at 15-11

Final general classification
1. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana in 31-28-21

2. David Zabriskie (USA) Garmin-Slipstream at 36secs
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Columbia-Highroad at 45secs
4. Jens Voigt (Ger) Saxo Bank at 1-10
5. Thomas Lovkvist (Swe) Columbia-Highroad at 1-29
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 1-37
7. Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana at 1-46
8. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 1-54
9. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin – Slipstream at 2-24
10. Jose Rubiera (Spa) Astana at 2-48
64. Mark Cavendish (GB) Columbia-Highroad at 46-29

Tour of California 2009Mark Cavendish secured the green sprinter’s jersey

Tour of California 2009Peloton sweeps through the California scenery for one last time

Tour of California 2009Frank Schleck took the final stage of the 2009 race

Tour of California 2009Final podium (l-r): Michael Rogers (third), Levi Leipheimer (winner), David Zabriskie (second)


Stage seven: Nocentini wins in Pasedena
Stage six: Leipheimer wins time trial to cement Tour of California lead
Stage five: Two in a row for Cavendish
Stage four: Cavendish battles over hills to wins stage
Stage three: Hushovd sprints home
Stage two: Leipheimer takes the lead
Stage one: Mancebo’s stage one win raises Puerto demons
Prologue: Cancellara Express derails the Armstrong show

Mancebo crashes out of KOM lead
Comment: What’s in a victory salute?
Cavendish rises to second in list of all-time British pro winners
Armstrong’s time trial bike handed in to police
Boonen set to ride Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne after Tour of California
Cancellara abandons Tour of California
Armstrong’s bike stolen in California
Cavendish poised to take leaders jersey
Tour of California blog
Armstrong and Astana train for Tour of California
Mark Cavendish: Rider Profile
Lance Armstrong: Rider Profile

Stage eight photo gallery
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery
Prologue photo gallery
Cycling Weekly photo gallery

2009 Tour of California race preview
Start list: all the riders
Team list: all the squads

Saturday, February 14 Prologue details
Sunday, February 15 Stage one details
Monday, February 16 Stage two details
Tuesday, February 17 Stage three details
Wednesday, February 18 Stage four details
Thursday February 19 Stage five details
Friday, February 20 Stage six details
Saturday, February 21 Stage seven details
Sunday, February 22 Stage eight details

Tour of California official website