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Leipheimer fans deflated by doping admissions

Resignation and sadness greeted hometown cycling hero Levi Leipheimer's admission that for almost a decade he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs to race in the sport's top echelons.

"It's tragic anytime a professional athlete cheats to win, and that's really what we're talking about here," said Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Shirlee Zane, a cycling enthusiast.

Leipheimer and other top cyclists who raced with seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong admitted in affidavits that they used banned substances as part of a sophisticated doping program managed and coordinated by Armstrong and team managers.

To those who admired Leipheimer "totally," as did Gus Greenstein, a founder of the Caravaners cycling club at Santa Rosa's Maria Carrillo High School, the news was deflating. Club members rode with Leipheimer last year.

"It makes me wonder if I'd want the Caravaners to continue that relationship," said Greenstein, who now is a junior at Amherst College but remains involved in the club.


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