I've held forth from this bully pulpit before on the merits of high-achieving athletes who also exemplify personal qualities I admire, and Levi Leipheimer is tops on my list of such cyclists. Yesterday, I read on VeloNews.com some interesting comments about the hyper-exposure of Lance Armstrong's return and the general under-selling of Levi. I was inspired to second the motion on both counts, and fired off a quick email. Lo and behold, I open the letters section today, and there is my note, second from the top (edited by the publisher, but not too much the worse for wear).
BTW, in the spirit of full confession, I have to follow up on my piece about my mixed feelings for Armstrong. I watched the final stage of the Tour Down Under on Versus.com, and I will admit that I got pretty excited when Armstrong came out of the pack to bridge the gap to the tete de la course. It was great fun -- the "old guy" (eight years my junior, but you know what I mean) still has some fuel in the boosters. I loved seeing the young bucks doing double-takes over their shoulder; it was so clear what they were thinking. "Holy ----, I'm in a break with Lance Friggin' Armstrong!!!" And also, "Oh, crap-- He really does still have the legs!!"
Alright, alright -- I said right along that he was arguably the most talented (re-)active cyclist out there, but because I returned to cycling after decades away, I missed the chance to see him ride during his peak. So I failed to mention one other very important thing about him: He's electrifying to watch. I've often compared him (in many ways) to Michael Jordan, and, after watching him do his stuff, I have to say, I'm sticking with that comparison. You couldn't take your eyes off Jordan, and you'd better not take 'em off Armstrong.
But I'll still be rooting for Levi.