WHERE ARE THEY NOW
2006: Floyd Landis
Following his inaugural Tour of California title, Landis won the Tour de France five months later. He was dethroned about two weeks after winning in France for doping. After his two-year ban ended in early 2009, he rode in various levels of competition for about two years with three different teams and as an independent. After he couldn’t find a team in 2011, he retired. Landis, now 38 and living in Southern California, is part of the pending whistleblower lawsuit against Lance Armstrong and other defendants.
2007-08-09: Levi Leipheimer
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Leipheimer, superior at time trials and climbing, won seven stages during his seven Tour of California runs. In addition to his three titles, he was sixth (2006), third (2010), second (2011) and sixth (2012). Leipheimer’s career ended suddenly after he cooperated with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in its case against Armstrong. With four other riders, he received a six-month suspension but couldn’t find a team after being fired from Omega Pharma. He officially announced his retirement last year on the final day of the Tour of California in Santa Rosa. His 2007 Tour of California title, four Tour de France finishes and other results were voided. Now 40, Leipheimer lives in Santa Rosa and is active with a Sonoma County gran fondo event and in animal rights.
2010: Michael Rogers
After winning three consecutive world time trial titles, Rogers had several illnesses in the late 2000s. He won two stage races in 2010, including the Tour of California, but illness stalled his career again and the first non-American to win the Tour of California was unable to defend his title in 2011. The Australian returned to the Tour of California last year and finished second overall. Late last year, it was announced he tested positive for clenbuterol and he was provisionally suspended from cycling. But last month the International Cycling Union announced no further action would be taken and Rogers, 34, was cleared to race. Rogers’ Saxo-Tinkoff squad is not competing in the Tour of California this year.
2011: Chris Horner
On his sixth attempt, Horner won his first Tour of California title. During those seven Tours, Horner also finished fourth (2010), seventh (2008), eighth (2012), 11th (2007), 13th (2006) and 22nd (2009). Horner, who turns 43 in September, was scheduled to ride in the Tour of Italy this year instead of the Tour of California, but he was hit by a car while training in Italy last month and is recovering. He may ride in the Tour de France (July) or the Vuelta a España (August), which he won last year.
2012: Robert Gesink
After an early pro career beset with injuries, the young Dutchman rejuvenated his career in the United States. He finished third in the time trial and pedaled away from the field to win a mountaintop Stage 7 on Mount Baldy en route to his overall Tour of California title. Gesink, 27, often considered a top Tour de France contender (he was fifth in 2010), underwent surgery earlier this week because of cardiac arrhythmia and is expected to resume competition soon.
2013: Tejay van Garderen
After a few time-trial wins and several strong overall finishes, there was only one question for the lanky American: When was he going to win a stage race? He did it twice last year, claiming the Tour of California and the USA Pro Challenge in August in Colorado. Van Garderen, 25, announced months ago he would not defend his Tour of California title this year. Instead, he’s in Europe training and using other preparatory events to focus on the Tour de France.
– James Raia