Menchov wins stage 12 time trial at Cinque Terre and takes lead. – VeloNews

A spectacular 60km course along Italy’s stunning Cinque Terre lived up to expectations Thursday as Denis Menchov Rabobank pulled the double, winning the stage and snatching away the maglia rosa from Danilo Di Luca LPR.

Levi Leipheimer Astana – who had won three time trials in three starts this season ─ almost walked away with the jackpot, finishing just 20 seconds slower than Menchov and climbing into third overall at 40 seconds back.

“Twenty seconds is not a lot. Menchov was better than me today, so I have to congratulate him, but 20 seconds is hard to swallow on a course like today because I wanted to win,” Leipheimer said. “Even though we lost Horner, I am confident in our team. Lance is getting better. I think we can still win it.”

We sure hope so, @Levi_Leipheimer … you’re capable of taking a Grand Tour, and you’re due … and your supporters in Utah (and Montana, and California, and elsewhere) are pulling for you all the way. And while the loss of Chris Horner has to hurt, with Lance and Popovych at your side working for you, you should be able to pull it off.