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Levi Leipheimer Wins Inaugural Amgen Tour of California Prologue

San Francisco, February 19, 2006 – An estimated crowd of more than 200,000 witnessed history as Levi Leipheimer (USA) of team Gerolsteiner led an American sweep of the top five places in the Prologue of the inaugural Amgen Tour of California, an international professional cycling stage race taking place throughout California from February 19-26.

Leipheimer eclipsed the best time held by fellow American Bobby Julich of Team CSC, the first rider to break the five-minute barrier on the challenging 1.9 mile course that finished with a significant climb up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower.

After leaving the start house third-to-last, Leipheimer finished with a time of 4’53”43, nearly five seconds faster than second-place Julich, who had previously set the standard for the 25 remaining riders, which included the world time trial champion Michael Rogers (AUS) of T-Mobile Team. Julich’s time held up to close contests by Discovery Channel’s George Hincapie (USA), Floyd Landis (USA) of Phonak and David Zabriskie (USA) of Team CSC, who finished third, fourth and fifth respectively.

“Amgen Tour of California is a great race and I can’t tell you how proud I am to be leading the first race,” said Leipheimer after fending off one final challenge from three-time defending time trial world champion Michael Rogers (TMO). “[This race] is, right out of the start house, the biggest race in the U.S.,” Leipheimer continued, “it’s definitely going to be the fastest growing race that the world has seen with the support of AEG and Amgen.”

In a podium presentation featuring California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Leipheimer was presented with the first Amgen Leader Jersey. With his second place finish, Julich wears the Clif Bar Sprint Jersey for tomorrow’s start in Sausalito. Bernhard Kohl (AUT) of T-Mobile Team earned the California Travel and Tourism King of the Mountain Jersey by posting the fastest split from the turn onto Lombard Street to the finish line. Colavita Oliva/Sutter Home’s Zachary Grabowski (USA) earned the Union Bank Best Young Rider Jersey, designated for the best-placed rider under the age of 23.

Tomorrow’s stage will bring the riders 81.5 miles from Sausalito to Santa Rosa. Heading north on Highway One through the Marin Headlands and into Point Reyes National Seashore, the sprinters will contest the first Clif Bar Sprint in Point Reyes before spectators in Santa Rosa watch Leipheimer defend his leader jersey on three laps of a technical finishing circuit in downtown Santa Rosa.

For more full results, official times and archived footage, photos and play-by-play from today’s stage of the Amgen Tour of California, please visit the official race website at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.

ABOUT AMGEN
Amgen discovers, develops and delivers innovative human therapeutics.  A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science's promise by bringing safe and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient.  Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses.  With a broad and deep pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people's lives.  To learn more about our pioneering science and our vital medicines, visit www.amgen.com.

ABOUT AEG
AEG is one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world.  AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Anschutz Corporation, owns or controls a collection of companies including facilities such as STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center, The Manchester Evening News Arena and NOKIA Theatre Times Square; sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), five Major League Soccer franchises, two hockey franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held  shares of the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Los Angdeles Sparks (WNBA) and the Amgen Tour of California cycling road race debuting in San Francisco on February 19th; AEG LIVE, the organization’s live-entertainment division, is a collection of companies dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance, touring and a variety of programming and multi-media production.  Additionally, the company has begun fully developing the 28-acre Millennium Dome and adjacent property located in the eastern part of London along the Thames River and will create the O2, a new arena within the ‘Dome’ and additional arenas, on a 50-acre site in the heart of Berlin and Spring Center in Kansas City, Missouri; stadiums in Bridgeview, Illinois and Harrison, New Jersey.  For more information, visit AEG today at www.aegworldwide.com