PRESS RELEASE: ASTANA CYCLING TEAM NETS FIRST STAGE VICTORY AND YELLOW JERSEY

"Astana Cycling Team would answer in a sportive way." Those were the words of Levi Leipheimer after the non-selection of his Team from ASO and RCS events.

In the Tour of Algarve, Tomas Vaitkus won the second stage from Lagoa to Lagos. Vaitkus, who finished second in yesterday's first stage, was the fastest man in today's group sprint. He was faster than Frster, Schrder, Benitez, Dehaes, Eisel and McEwen. It was the Lithuanian's and the Team's first victory of the season.

After crossing the line, Vaitkus was very emotional, "The team worked so hard for me. I couldn't believe that they had so much confidence in me. I really could cry now. This is extra special after all we've been through the past few weeks."

Sports Director Alexander Shefer was very proud of the Team effort. "Our riders did a great job. Together with Cofidis and Gerolsteiner, they had to work so long to close an 11 minute gap. Four riders (two Belgian and two Portuguese riders) were in the front. The last man, Preben Vanhecke, was only caught in the last 500 meters. It is a pity that Tomas lost one second yesterday, otherwise we would have had two yellow jerseys in one day. "

In the Tour of California, Levi Leipheimer is set to defend the yellow jersey in the fourth stage from Seaside to San Luis Obispo. Leipheimer took the yellow jersey after the queen stage from Modesto to San Jose, which featured over five climbs, including Mt Hamilton.