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The 2013 Amgen Tour of California will finish in Santa Rosa this afternoon. Will Levi Leipheimer, the Santa Rosa resident who has won the race three times, be there to welcome the cyclists home? I dunno.

Did Amgen ask Leipheimer to come and give a short speech on how proud he is of his adopted hometown to be the last stage of America's premier cycling event? Got me.

Does Leipheimer feel like a persona non grata, a cycling pariah, after admitting in October that he doped for eight years as a pro? Is he still embarrassed? Is he shy going out in public? Has he ever been harassed on the street? Wish I knew.

Leipheimer has decided not to speak publicly about his life since he spoke to me Oct. 16. Leipheimer certainly has that right, as freedom of speech also means freedom not to speak, and I'm not naming any names, Barry Bonds, but some athletes would be better served to keep their pie hole shut.

Leipheimer, however, is not one of them. A famous quote by John F. Kennedy reminds me of that.

"To those whom much is given," wrote the president in his memoir, "much is expected."

Indeed, Leipheimer has been given much, starting with that God-given ability to pedal a bicycle with the best in the world. His athleticism was a wonder, still is, and it translated to gold medals, global acclaim, financial comfort and an adoring fan base. His profile became singular in Sonoma County as he championed the landscape as a world-class cycling destination. Leipheimer's charity-driven Gran Fondo created such an impact that the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce named him Businessman of the Year in 2010.

Yes, Leipheimer has received much.

So Leipheimer's silence is noteworthy. He wasn't a one-year marvel, a blip on our radar, someone who came and went. In fact, he made it a point to tell us he was staying for the duration. On Sept. 29, Leipheimer said he would love to grow old here and be remembered as the guy who started the GranFondo.

"I would trade all the medals I have won for that honor," he said.

Wow, I said to myself at the time, the man has perspective, he has his priorities in order.

Now, I wonder. Did Leipheimer say all that because he knew what was coming? Less than two weeks later, on Oct. 10, the United States Anti-Doping Agency would announce that 11 former teammates of Lance Armstrong had testified that Armstrong ran a sophisticated doping ring. They doped and helped Armstrong run the program. As one of those 11 riders, knowing his life and his reputation were about to change dramatically, was Leipheimer building an exit strategy?

Continue to build upon the GranFondo, make it eventually bigger news than the doping. Was that it? And did he see the necessity of the GranFondo years before this, knowing USADA would do anything to nail Armstrong, including squeezing his former teammates? Is that true?

I would like to have asked Leipheimer those questions and I would like to have heard "no" in all responses. I want the GranFondo to be free from sin. To date, the event in five years has raised $917,860, according to Greg Fisher of Bike Monkey, the organization that shepherds the Fondo. That's a lot of green. That's a lot of love given back to the community, welcome funding to cities, streets, fire departments, foster youth programs. Na?e me, I want to believe that number wouldn't be smaller if people knew Leipheimer doped.

Which leads me to a series of questions I would have liked to ask.

What was going through your mind, Levi, when you stood on a platform before the start of the 2012 GranFondo, in front of 7,500 riders wildly cheering your name? In 11 days USADA would announce its findings. I'll assume you knew. Even if you didn't, you knew you cheated. Yet you stood up there, smiling, welcoming the applause. How could you do that? What lies did you tell yourself? How could you justify it? Did you feel self-conscious at all?

Quite likely the answer would have been something like this: This was for the community good. And he would be right. It was. But at what emotional sacrifice for Leipheimer? Is this like taking one for the team, taking it in the soul?

Oh, we all would have preferred that the one interview in October could have wrapped it all up neatly. But not when so many questions still need to be answered.

In October, Levi, you acknowledged receiving threatening messages from Armstrong. You expected retaliation from Armstrong. Has that happened? Has Armstrong tried to contact you? If yes to any of this, please explain.

In October you said, "I owe it to everyone to be available to discuss it openly to anyone on the streets." Has that happened? And how often?

Apparently last Tuesday at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, in an event called the Twilight Series, Leipheimer spent more than a half-hour mentoring young riders, then took off on his bike and smoked the competition in one final race. How often have you done that? And what did it feel like to race again?

The registration for the 2013 GranFondo has not been noticeably affected by the October announcement. The Gran route is sold out. The Piccolo and Medio routes are filling up at the pace of previous years. Apparently it doesn't matter to the 7,500 riders whether Leipheimer doped. So has the allure of the iconic routes in Sonoma County taken over for the iconic namesake? Could it be Honey Boo Boo's GranFondo and still sell out?

Omega Pharma Quick-Step didn't renew Leipheimer's contract, signing sprinter Mark Cavendish instead. Levi, do you feel you got jobbed? That Omega Pharma was making an example of you?

Levi, after your movie premiere you said, "I'm kinda of a wallflower." Does that make this situation even more difficult for you?

Did any team contact you in the offseason? And what did they say?

Oh, but wait. I'm getting ahead of myself here. In fact, I have been doing it the entire column. I missed the most obvious question of them all.

Levi, are you retired?

We could start there, or we could not. Your choice. But for you to remove yourself from the spotlight, when you have been such a presence in it, raises the most important of all questions.

Levi, are you doing yourself any favors by keeping all the answers to yourself?

You can reach Staff Columnist Bob Padecky at 521-5223 or bob.padecky@pressdemocrat.com.