It’s that time of year again and I’ve decided to make some predictions about this year’s Tour de France.
Stage winners: First up, Moncoutie! This guy will definitely win a stage this year, I can feel it. Last year he was rocking at the Vuelta but this year he’s hungry for victory in the Grand Boucle.
Speaking of Frenchmen, Chavanel will also be hungry for a stage win and he’ll get one. We will definitely see these two in some breaks, possibly together, and each of them will take home a stage win.
Sammy Sanchez might also win a stage. The gold medal winner from last year’s Olympics will mix things up in one of the mountain stages. So will Luis Leon Sanchez.
Sastre will do well in the overall, probably 3rd, but he won’t win a stage.
World Champion Alessandro Ballan won’t win a stage, unfortunately, but he will be in a break or two.
Jens is due for another stage win. After losing his saddle on the Champs Elysees last year, he’s POed. He wants revenge and he’ll do it in a 80K+ long break.
Despite the sisterly bickering between Lancy pants and Alberto, with Levi’s occasional “You tell ‘em Lance!”, Contador will still win a stage and that stage will be Mont Ventoux. He marked Cadel’s wheel up it in the recent Dauphine using only one nostril. This time up it he’ll unleash an attack that leaves Valverde writing sappy thank you cards to CONI.
As for Cadel, he’s going to get 2nd place again, mainly because he doesn’t want to break his streak. Oh, and because instead of rehydrating after races he’ll be too caught up in slapping reporters and shouting epithets.
Most stage wins: Hands down this goes to Cavendish. However, he won’t win all the sprints this year. Columbia will botch at least one of the leadouts making room for Thor Hushovd (anyone see their leadout on Stage 3 of the ToC??).
As for sprinting, Hushovd will win a stage. A dejected Boonen will often come in second or third with possibly one stage win, although unlikely. Haussler won’t win a stage but will help Hushovd win one.
Best Young Rider: This one will go to Andy Schleck again although not without some serious fight from Nibali. Nibali has been looking really strong this year and will definitely have a good Tour.
ITT: Levi will get 2nd or 3rd in a TT, he won’t win one. Cancellara will continue to dominate the TTs especially without, ahem, Schumacher there. Dave Z will also get a podium finish on one of the TTs but he won’t win one either.
TTT: Garmin will win this one. They’ve got the Manxman angry enough to go hard in the TTT now but they’re still better prepared. They’ll also have more air in their longs from not running their mouths so much.
Polka Polka!: This will go to, hmm I’m thinking, I’m thinking, Andy Schleck! Without Bernhard “Wait as long as it was originally my blood…” Kohl there to muck it up for him, Schleck will get his share of KOMs. Did I say his share? What I meant was his share, plus Ricardo Ricco’s.
First one to be caught doping: I have to say, given the streak they’re on, that it will be an Italian, possibly a Liquigas guy. I can’t say for sure, but I know their name will end in “I”.
As for the big question, “Will Lance do anything?” The answer is: No! Lance won’t win a stage, nor will he podium for the GC. I know he just got done owning neo-pros in Nevada, but this is a different ball park.