US cyclists are figuring prominently in two week-long bicycle races currently playing out on the continent — Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico.
At the Paris-Nice, Levi Leipheimer (left, Omega Pharma-Quick Step) is still within 10-seconds of the overall leader as he sits in 3rd place overall after Stage 6.
He’s followed closely in the overall category by Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing), who is 39 seconds behind the leader in 6th place.
That race ends Sunday with an individual time trial in Nice. Leipheimer and Van Garderen ended the Stage 1 time trial in 3rd and 4th place, respectively.
Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain, Sky) has led the race since Stage 2; Lieuwe Westra (Netherlands, Vacansoleil) broke into 2nd place overall on Thursday after winning the mountain stage.
Two US cyclists — Tyler Farrar (above right, Garmin) and Chris Horner (Radio Shack) — sit in the Top 10 after Friday’s Stage 3 in Italy’s Tirreno-Adriatico bike race.
That race ends next Tuesday with an individual time trial.
Horner, Farrar and Andrew Talansky (Garmin) finished Stage 1 in 11th, 12th and 13th places, respectively, after their teams tied for 2nd in the team time trials.
GreenEdge cyclist Matthew Goss (Australia) currently leads the race after Stage 3 on the basis of that team time trial. Farrar sits in 5th, 13 seconds behind, and Horner is in 8th place, 20 seconds behind.
Horner has a chance of moving up in Sunday’s mountainous 121-mile stage from Martinsicuro to Prati di Tivo.
Interestingly, three of these cyclists among the leaders of these two Euro bike races have strong ties to the Pacific Northwest. Farrar grew up in Wenatchee, Wash., and Horner makes his off-season home in Bend, Oregon. Van Garderen was born in Tacoma, Wash., and raised in Montana.
Leipheimer grew up in Montana and later moved to Santa Rosa, Calif.
George Hincapie (BMC) is also racing at the Tirreno-Adriatico. Taylor Phinney and Brent Bookwalter of BMC Racing and Danny Pate (Sky) and Edward King (Liquigas) are other US cyclists at Paris-Nice.