SNOWBIRD, Utah (AP) — The last time Levi Leipheimer trained in Utah, he was battling snowy conditions up Little Cottonwood Canyon.
On Sunday in the final stage of the Tour of Utah, the heat was on, what with scorching temperatures and attacks all day from a strong Colombian team.
In the end, Leipheimer had just enough in him to successfully defend his title Sunday, locking onto Colombian Sergio Henao's back wheel on the final 6-mile, 3,000-vertical foot climb.
Henao won the final stage from Park City to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. But Leipheimer claimed the final yellow jersey, ahead of Henao and RadioShack teammate Janez Brajkovic, who took third overall and in the stage.
"It was vicious out there," said Leipheimer, who makes his home in Santa Rosa but remains a Utah favorite because he attended high school and college in Utah.
"One moment Janez and I (were battling) five or six of them. It was a little daunting out there."
It helped that Leipheimer, who had a disappointing Tour de France after winning the Tour of Switzerland in June, had a 23-second advantage over Henao coming into the final day.
"I was in good shape," Henao said through an interpreter. "But I found out Levi was just as strong. He's a worthy winner."
Gobernacion Indeportes Antioquia was a late invite to the upgraded Tour of Utah this year and showed its merit.
Henao won the prologue and final stage and teammate Janier Acevedo won Saturday's Stage 4 race through the hills around Salt Lake City to give Gobernacion the team victory.