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Tour of California: Cocky Young Brit Wins Stage Again, Levi Still in Lead Overall

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For the second day in a row, 23-year-old Mark Cavendish of Britain won yesterday's stage, a 134-mile route from Visalia to Paso Robles, mostly on the San Joaquin Valley floor.

"This was the day that I was planning on winning this year,” said Cavendish in a Tour report. “It was a hard day; harder than expected. It seems like they’ve replicated the Tour de France with the speed and the par course. It has been incredibly hard.”

Levi Leipheimer still leads the race over all with a 24-second lead, but today's short route expected to be a decisive day. It's a 15-mile time trial that goes out and back into the Santa Ynez Valley from Solvang, winding through quaint towns, vineyards, farms, and one short, but steep, climb up Ballard Canyon," explains the Tour.

“It’s probably going to be the deciding stage of the race,” Michael Rogers, who is 2nd overall, told the New York Times. “We’re all looking at beating Levi because he is really riding well at the moment. He’s also at home here, so he has somewhat of an advantage.” Leipheimer's teammates, including Lance Armstrong, hope he will have a strong day and the question is if today will be every man to himself. After all, a time trial is considered a "race of truth."

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The tour will come to the Los Angeles area tomorrow morning, starting in Santa Clarita and racing to Pasadena. It will then have it's last stage (out of eight total plus a prologue) near San Diego.

Previous Tour of California Coverage
- Tour of California, Stage 4: Lance Armstrong Still in 4th, Stolen Bike Found
- Tour of California, Stage 3: Levi Clipped by Lance Armstrong, but Still in the Lead
- Tour of California, Stage 2: Lance Armstrong Crashes, Teammate Takes Lead
- Tour of California, Stage 1: Lance Armstrong's Bike Stolen, Comes in 5th