Thursday, June 24, 2010

Le Grand Boucle!

--Le Tour has snuck up on us once again. Feels like yesterday Fabian was riding his motorized bike up the Kwaremont! The other day I typed up a few predictions on Quora (which btw, if you don't already have enough internet crack, this site is great) and decided it was time to post some.

--Btw, I have a foreign correspondent who's going to be reporting on select stages this year. My buddy Jim has already booked his tix and will be there on the Champs! You can follow him on Twitter @jwbender.

--But first, rumors have it that "The Cobra" is coming back! Everyone's favorite maglia bianca is rumored to be coming back with Quick Step for La Vuelta. I highly doubt this is true but it's a funny rumor no less. If he does come back, will baby-mama Vania be there to support him?

--Jeannie Longo just won her 57th national title. That's right, 57. For those of you who've never heard of this woman, she's 51 and her palmares make her the best female cyclist ever. She was at Fitchburg last year and I raced with her husband (he was in the cat 4s!) Ha! Cool guy, and she's very nice.

--I just got done reading a copy of Pro Cycling which had an interview with Peter Sagan. What a champ! He was the 2008 world junior mountain bike champion and two years later he's winning stages of the Tour of Cali, unreal! I would love to see this kid race the Tour this year because I think he could hack it. I think I heard that he wasn't a likely pick for this year's team but I'm pulling for him.

There was also an article by Alex Carera, a cycling agent. I have wondered about agents in cycling and how that works and the article is pretty informative. Apparently, during July most of the teams are drawing up budgets for the following year and looking to fill holes in their roster.

I like the Pro Cycling a lot. As far as print media goes, it's one of the best. Rouleur is also fantastic, but a totally different niche.

On the topic of great cycling reads, I found out about Samuel Abt last year and have really enjoyed some of his books. I usually get them used on Amazon so I got his last three or four for like $10. I digest.

--Okay, okay, I'll come out with it. Contador is going to win the Tour. There, I said it. BUT, if for some reason he hits a piece of "Dutch crunch" (translation: road furniture), then Andy Schleck will take the cake, and eat it.

1. Contador
2. Little Schleck

Here's where it gets tricky. Lately Frank Schleck has been rocking, to say the least. And I think there's a great chance he and his bro will fill out 2nd and 3rd on the podium. However, there's always Basso who: 1. had amazing support throughout the Giro, and 2. was amazing throughout the Giro.

3. Basso
4. Big Schleck

Rounding out 5th will be either Tony Martin or Bradley Wiggins, and I'm leaning toward Tony Martin. I take that back:

5. Wiggins
6. T. Martin

I think once they get to the high mountains Wiggo will do just a bit better than Martin. I also think we're likely to see his 2010 breakthrough performance. That being said, I hope I'm wrong on this one because I like Martin tons better.

Cadel, all I can say is he'll be crying about something before the Tour is over.

One last dark dark horse, Ryder Hesjedal. I think he'll make the top 10. This guy's form has been getting consistently better of the last few seasons and I think he could take VDVs spot this year once the rubber hits the road.

Stage winners:

I think Nicolas Roche could definitely win a stage this year. I'd love to see Moncoutie snag another before he's done, although I think it's unlikely. He's usually better in the Vuelta when the competition isn't quite as steep. I'd love to see Hesjedal get a stage as well.


Cavendish will win all but one sprint stage. He'll lose one to Hushovd on an uphill sprint. Haussler won't be on form, not from crashing but because he's probably boozing right now instead of getting fit. Well, I guess you could say from crashing, since he's boozing over crashing. Regardless the reasons, he's not going to get a win. He'll get a 2nd or 3rd.

Farrar will nab some 2nd/3rd places. That's the best he's going to do against Cav, which I think is really stellar.

As for Greipel, oh yeah complaining to the press about your work situation wasn't the best idea. Sorry, dude. I mean, if you ask me, I'd rather ride the Tour and work for something else than not ride the Tour at all.

Boonen, he's done. Stick a fork in him. I like Boonen a lot but as I've said I don't see him winning bunch sprints against the world's best anymore.

Okay, that's enough for now. I wish I had more time to make better predictions but these will have to do.

I'll leave you with an old pic I found and one last prediction: he's going to be in yellow the first week:

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