Pro cyclist Levi Leipheimer is getting a hometown parade in his honor.
Butte, Montana, is celebrating Leipheimer's successful cycling career with the welcome home event on Oct. 20 that begins at the Butte Plaza Mall at 1 p.m. and arrives at the Civic Center annex at 2 p.m.
The Montana Standard newspaper says the area's schoolkids have been invited to join in the 1.6-mile bike ride, and Leipheimer will give a speech at the Civic Center and a video highlighting his career will be shown. Also people from Leipheimer's past, like his skiing coach, will speak (Leipheimer initially got into skiing as a training regimen for downhill skiing).
Why Leipheimer? The former member of Lance Armstrong's US Postal team had an outstanding year cycling in Europe.
Now cycling for Gerolsteiner, Leipheimer finished the year by winning the Tour of Germany, a nine-stage bicycle race in August. He took the winner's jersey by beating local favorite Jan Ullrich.
Before the Germany race, Leipheimer battled for a 6th place overall finish in the Tour de France, finishing less than 12 minutes behind Armstrong. Earlier in the season he placed 2nd overall in the week-long Tour de Georgia.
You might remember Leipheimer, who turns 32 on Oct. 24, from those Specialized bicycle commercials during the Tour de France (he rides the Specialized Tarmac SL). Leipheimer was the rider that never had time to be interviewed. The Leipheimer commercials are available on the Specialized website.
He's got some time now, but not a lot. Leipheimer's brother, Bob, said this is Levi's first visit to Butte since 2001. He currently lives in Santa Rosa, California, although he spends much of the year competing and training in Europe.
Earlier this month he rode with the top 10 fund-raisers in the Bike for Breath, a series of American Lung Association bike rides.