Santa Rosa, CA -- Discovery Channel Cycling Team has staged a violent takeover of the Tour of California stage race at the finish of today's action in Santa Rosa. Unidentified team sources calling from inside race headquarters, where the military-style assault occurred, have informed the media that Levi Leipheimer will retain his yellow leader's jersey after losing it earlier.
In the day's race, which concluded shortly before 4pm local time, Leipheimer fell in a large crash that knocked a dozen riders from the peloton, 9 kilometers from the finish. The stage was won by Rabobank's Graeme Brown, and Allan Davis, second on the day, assumed the overall lead when Leipheimer and other crash survivors crossed the line over 40 seconds later.
Shortly before the presentation of the yellow leader's jersey, however, gunfire was heard in the direction of the trailer serving as race headquarters. Witnesses reported that two dozen masked men, wearing Discovery, Postal and Motorola jerseys, stormed the facility and forcibly removed race personnel. Several people associated with the race reported minor injuries, though no fatalities. However, the whereabouts of race director David Towle are unknown at this time.
Thirty minutes after the takeover, two armed, hooded men ushered a nervous-looking Leipheimer to the podium where he was awarded the yellow jersey and proclaimed the "supreme race leader" by the escorts. Johan Bruyneel, Discovery's Directeur Sportif, appeared on closed circuit television stating that justice "had to prevail" before ranting in an unintelligible mix of Flemish and English about "those bastards at Paris-Roubaix".
Conditions for tomorrow's race to Sacramento are volatile and changing rapidly. Davis, the presumed leader, was ushered away by California State Police. No team has made a statement about continuing, but explosions were heard at Rabobank and Quick Step headquarters. Coup leaders have issued tomorrow's order of finish, which shows Leipheimer adding three minutes to his lead in an escape from the peloton with teammates George Hincapie and Ivan Basso, but these results are unconfirmed.
Seriously. Neutralizing the race from 9km. It's just February, but this is not cool.