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Cycling legend Leipheimer to return to Dempsey Challenge

Olympic bronze medalist and eight-time Tour de France competitor Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa, Calif. has confirmed his appearance for the third annual Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen.

The Challenge is a non-competitive run, walk and cycling event benefiting The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center. The event will take place on October 8 and 9 in Lewiston.

Leipheimer, 37, now rides for Team RadioShack and played a major role in the 2010 Dempsey Challenge weekend festivities, including the sponsor dinner, private ride and reception, press conference, Champions for Hope banquet and autograph session. He concluded the weekend with a 50-mile ride alongside actor and event namesake Patrick Dempsey.

“It’s a privilege to return back to Lewiston and once again join in the celebration of the 3rd Annual Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen,” said Leipheimer. “Patrick is a wonderful host and the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing is an incredible and meaningful organization. I’m looking forward to another wonderful experience.”

Leipheimer’s breakthrough performance came four years after turning professional, a third-place finish at his first Grand Tour, the 2001 Vuelta a España. He has four Top 10 finishes in the Tour de France and a career-best third-place finish in 2007. In 2010, Leipheimer placed 13th in the Tour and won the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race, breaking Lance Armstrong’s record set the previous year.

Leipheimer is the only three-time Amgen Tour of California winner, earning consecutive yellow jerseys in 2006, 2007 and 2008. He turned in a bronze-medal performance for the United States in the 2008 Olympic road time trials in Beijing, China. In August, 2010, Leipheimer collected his most recent victory in the Tour of Utah, dubbed “America’s Toughest Stage Race.”

In 2009, Leipheimer founded the King Ridge GranFondo, an October benefit ride based in his hometown, which attracts thousands of cyclists. The event aims to improve quality of life within the community through supporting cancer research, animal welfare and cycling infrastructure. He and his wife, Odessa Gunn, are animal welfare advocates currently working to establish an animal refuge. Leipheimer has auctioned off several of his Tour de France jerseys to support local charities.

The Dempsey Challenge offers a 5K and 10K run/walk on October 8 and cycling routes of 10, 25, 50, 70 and 100 miles on October 9. All events will begin and end at Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston.

The weekend will include a family friendly Festival in the Park which plays host to the Concentra Health and Wellness Expo, KidZone, vendor fair and live entertainment. Runners and walkers will enjoy the Hannaford 5 & 10K Café on Oct. 8 while cyclists are invited to take part in a participant lobster bake the following day. The Amgen Breakaway from Cancer Survivor Walk will be part of the October 8 program.

Participants are encouraged to create or join teams through the Dempsey Challenge website to build camaraderie and assist their fundraising efforts.  For more information, including participant, volunteer and fundraising information, log on to www.dempseychallenge.org.

For more information on Levi Leipheimer and the King Ridge GranFondo, please visit www.levisgranfondo.com.

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