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Leipheimer nearing podium after uneventful ride

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Barring a disaster on his wheels or another doping scandal, Levi Leipheimer is virtually assured a spot on the final podium when the 2007 Tour de France wraps up on Sunday.

After an uneventful ride Thursday — which followed an incredibly eventful night of scandal — the Rowland Hall graduate and former Utahn rolled across the finish line in Stage 17 and remained in third place overall, 2:49 behind fellow Discovery Channel rider Alberto Contador.

Leipheimer will likely have another casual ride in Stage 18 as the current leaders of the race are — scandals permitting — well ahead of the field and will not risk a crash during today's flat stage.

Saturday, however, Leipheimer will undoubtedly let everything go in the 55-kilometer time trial as he tries to make up the 56-second difference to Cadel Evans for second place.

Team CSC's Carlos Sastre is 3:13 behind Leipheimer.