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He would never do so. It's not his style. In fact, he would be loathe to do it, would walk away if asked, would have no part in it, probably have even a scowl on his face. Oh well. Sorry, pal, you're not going to get with it. The next sentence needs to be written anyway.

Take a bow, Levi Leipheimer.

OK, sure, Levi, you had help. Those 600 volunteers. Those 24 CHP officers working the roads. Those 3,500 riders. And that countryside in West County, part Nova Scotia coast, part Oregon forest, the route huddled in trees one minute, exposed to sun and wind the next minute, not a ho-hum anywhere, yeah, the landscape helped. Still, it was Levi's GranFondo Saturday.

"If this was Greg's GranFondo," said Greg Fisher, editor of Bike Monkey magazine, "eight riders would enter, four would actually ride and one of them would be drunk."

Levi The Magnet. The force that attracts. How else does this happen in just four months, the largest recreational bike ride in America? Who else would pull in 2008 U.S. National Road Champion Tyler Hamilton and Scott Nydam, the King of the Mountains champion in the 2008 Tour of California? I mean, Mike Richter, the former goalie for the NHL's New York Rangers, was there Saturday. So was four-time World Mountain Bike champion Brian Lopes. And so was Axel Merckx, the Belgian National Champion and Bronze Medalist at the 2004 Olympic Games.

And those 3,500 riders moving like felled logs down a stream, close together but in rhythm. The throng left and returned to Santa Rosa in one piece, the masses yearning to be free of injury and they were.

"This exceeded my expectations and hopes," Leipheimer said. "I can't believe it. The support I received. It's overwhelming."

It's the power of one, that concept from the &‘60s which now feels like ancient literature. In a corporate world in which an individual is smothered by system after system, one man can make a difference. That one man, in this case, is Leipheimer. This wasn't someone approaching Leipheimer a year ago and asking that if he would lend his name to the event, he'd get a cool 100 large. No, this was Leipheimer and his good friend, Santa Rosa restaurateur Giampaolo Pesce, on bikes, in Occidental, approaching King Ridge, first discussing the idea. Just four months ago. With Leipheimer getting nothing out of it except the pleasure of showing off Sonoma County.

"Levi brings enormous credibility to this event," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, the organization that holds the Tour of California every year. "His impact is immense. Mass participation rides always have been difficult to pull off, but Levi hit a home run here."

Critics have claimed: What's the big deal? No one is keeping score and Americans love to keep score. So there are no winners. Um, correction, there are. Levi's King Ridge GranFondo further embeds Santa Rosa into the cycling universe, in particular the Tour of California universe.

"When cities in California ask me what it takes to host a stage race in the Tour of California," Messick said, "I always show Santa Rosa as the prototype. This is how you do it."

As Messick and his crew pour over the possibilities of host cities — the 2010 Tour of California route will be announced Oct. 22 — Santa Rosa and Sonoma County do themselves a lot of good by staging this GranFondo. Building their cache as it were. A company like AEG is always impressed by commitment and this is the type of commitment Santa Rosa has made. Event organizer Carlos Perez estimated that goods and services valued between $250,000-350,000 have been donated by community organizations to make the GranFondo work.

"When the Tour goes through Santa Rosa," said Scott Nydam, a pro with the Santa Rosa-based BMC team, "people talk about how Santa Rosa is such a hotbed of cycling. But the riders go through here in just one day. So how does the rest of the country really know how popular cycling is here. But this ... (as Nydam pointed to the sprawling masses at the Finley Center) ... People know."

And at the core of that cache is Leipheimer, the most influential unpaid spokesperson for the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce. Markus Neuert is a 35-year old owner of a cycling film production company in Germany who was on a business trip in the United States when he heard about Levi's GranFondo. Neuert adjusted his work schedule and came to Santa Rosa to ride in the event.

"I had to see what all the clamor was about," Neuert said. "Levi's impact, it's the reach he provides. Levi has tremendous power to get people to ride. He has become really well-known in Europe after riding with Lance (Armstrong) in this last Tour (de France) and after Lance, Levi is either the second or third-best known American overseas, David Zabriskie being the other rider.

"And it helps that the GranFondo is in California. California is very popular with Europeans. It's not like holding a GranFondo in Nebraska, and that's nothing against Nebraska."

Well, actually it is but then again, Neuert's reference is to scenery. In that Levi's name and, to throw out an example, Coleman Valley Road, run a dead heat in marketability. Before the ride Saturday Leipheimer told the gathered multitude that he has ridden King Ridge "a thousand times and it always takes me by surprise." Anyone who has walked, pedaled or driven the road would agree and there's nothing that inspires curiosity any more than ever-changing panoramas.

"This is going to be the blueprint (for GranFondos held in the United States)," Leipheimer said. "I don't know anywhere else that could have pulled something like this off so quickly. We have the best cycling in the nation right here and we are not afraid to prove it to people. Yes, this will be the blueprint."

Of course he would never say it but this is Levi's Blueprint. He's the one who thought of the idea, picked the right people and got out of the way. He's the one that didn't meddle. He's the one that let talented and capable folks do their job. Nothing inspires and motivates people anymore than trust. A boss who doesn't micromanage will get far better results than one who does.

"I am definitely proud that this was my idea," Levi Leipheimer said Saturday, "but I can't help and credit."

And then he went down the list with Perez and Raissa de la Rosa of the city and the cops and city government and after a while I stopped Levi before he got to the guy who delivered the bottled water. It wasn't that I didn't want to know the guy's name. It's just that, well, I wanted to save Levi some time. I could fill out the rest of his list myself by just turning to the Santa Rosa phonebook.

For more on North Bay sports go to Bob Padecky's blog at padecky.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Bob Padecky at 521-5223 or bob.padecky@pressdemocrat.com.