Predictions - Tour de France

Phil

Maximum Pace
#1
That time of year again. Who are your picks for the TdF podium? A couple of years ago (2010) Sergui called the exact podium (prize: nothing); I wonder if anyone can do it again?

Mine:

1. Evans
Actually, keep going back and forth between Evans and Wiggins; reason I'm putting Evans ahead is I still find it hard to believe that Wiggins can keep holding his (fantastic) form all the way to the end of week 3 of the Tour
2. Wiggins
Right up until the Dauphine I'm not sure I would have put him on the podium, but he was so dominant there--especially blowing everyone away in the time trial.
3. Menchov
He can time trial, and has a habit of popping up out of nowhere for the odd grand tour podium. It worked for Sergui in 2010...

Darkhorse: Lieuwe Westra. He chased Wiggins in the Dauphine and can time trial (Dutch champ)...
Darkhorse 2: Hesjedal, but just because I like him. Doubt he can carry form into a second grand tour...

INRNG has a good run-down of the faves:
http://inrng.com/2012/06/tour-podium-contenders/#more-9407
 

Gunjira

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Oct 2, 2009
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#2
Rider, Evans, wiggins based on their individual prowess. Wiggins, Evans, rider taking in account their team support.
 

kpykc

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Jun 13, 2007
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#3
1. Nibali
2. Menchov
3. Evans

Wiggins was great in Dauphine, but like Phil said - I don't think he will hold his best form until the 3rd week of the Tour.
And Menchov is here just because I like him.

But, anyway, without Alberto and Andy - I doubt we will see spectacular racing in the mountains.
There is no clear beacon for the rest of the contenders to follow now, so it will be all defensive in the hills, and all will be decided in the ITT.

But then again.. who knows? it's Le Tour, after all :rolleyes:

oh yes, almost forgot -
4. Sagan :D
 

Yamabushi

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Jun 1, 2010
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fudoushin.com
#5
1. Nibali
2. Menchov
3. Evans

Wiggins was great in Dauphine, but like Phil said - I don't think he will hold his best form until the 3rd week of the Tour.
And Menchov is here just because I like him.

But, anyway, without Alberto and Andy - I doubt we will see spectacular racing in the mountains.
There is no clear beacon for the rest of the contenders to follow now, so it will be all defensive in the hills, and all will be decided in the ITT.

But then again.. who knows? it's Le Tour, after all :rolleyes:

oh yes, almost forgot -
4. Sagan :D
No particular predictions from me, but I would really love to see Nibali and Sagan do well! As for the mountains, Frank Schleck finally put in a real attack on one of the stages at the Tour de Suisse. I sincerely hope that is an indicator of what he intends to do in TDF!
 
Jan 14, 2007
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japanichiban.com
#6
Evans.

He has all the support, experience and determination.

All the other contenders have 2 out of 3 of the above but not the whole package.

If Wiggins wins it will be a very great achievement.

The dark horses could sneak away and win given a good breakaway or two and they could win just for being a dark horse. A strong support rider with a big carrot on a string and leader that is not performing. ie Richie Porte should Wiggins crash out...or Michael Rogers if he's been training for it.

Will be interesting to see what old Vinokourov has up his sleeve.
 

Aron B

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#7
Evans and Wiggins. So much TT and so few finishes uphill dimiss the climbers. Wiggins has been extraordinary this year (wins in Paris-Nice, Romandie and the Dauphiné), but perhaps he peaked too early. And they have GC-deadweight Cavendish to worry about, though I think he will bail out around the Alps.

I think Jurgen van den Broeck will do very well. He is extremely focused, and has improved the past two years. He's also flanked by superlieutenant Vanendert. Podium candidate.

The sprints should prove exciting if everyone stays upright. Greipel, Sagan, Kittel, Cavendish are all there. I don't think Sagan will win in the 'pure' sprints, but I do expect him to take stage 1 in Seraing right away.
 

Gunjira

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Oct 2, 2009
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#8
No particular predictions from me, but I would really love to see Nibali and Sagan do well! As for the mountains, Frank Schleck finally put in a real attack on one of the stages at the Tour de Suisse. I sincerely hope that is an indicator of what he intends to do in TDF!
Did you see the stage? Frank was away and pretty much gave up instead of fighting. He had the virtual leaders jersey in front of him and just sat up. Now you can say that he smartly wanted to conserve energy for the grand tours, but it was a disgrace to the race. And a testament that he just doesnt have the winner mentality to win the tour.
 

Mike

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Sep 24, 2007
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#9
Hmmm this is a difficult one. Wiggins is in cracking form and after his crash last year he'll be espeicailly motivated. Evans has just adopted a new baby boy and his thoughts maybe there compared to other years.

Wiggins / Evans / Nibali for my top 3.

Cavendish for Green even without much help from Sky.
 

Yamabushi

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#10
Did you see the stage? Frank was away and pretty much gave up instead of fighting. He had the virtual leaders jersey in front of him and just sat up. Now you can say that he smartly wanted to conserve energy for the grand tours, but it was a disgrace to the race. And a testament that he just doesnt have the winner mentality to win the tour.
Yes, I watched the stage. To Frank's credit, he actually put in a proper attack and successfully got away, even maintaining his lead through the following descent. As we all know the Schleck's are unfortunately well known for putting in a very short digs, and then looking over their shoulders until everyone paces themselves back on to their wheels. It's damn annoying! During this stage, happily, he didn't do that, he really attacked! As for him giving up, while not discounting your theory, the problem that he had as I saw it, was the long flat traverse to the next climb with the rest of the leaders bearing down on him. I really don't think there is any way he could have held them off. So while it was a bit disappointing to see him sit up and wait for the others, the real disappointment for me was that he didn't put in another big attack on the final climb and make a dash for the finish line.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#11
I like Frank S. quite a bit, but that team is so dysfunctional right now and his TT-ing so poor I can honestly see him not getting into the top 10...

Sprints do look very interesting this year; Cav has lost weight in preparation for Box Hill and maybe a bit of top end speed with it, Greipel and Kettel are snapping at his heels, he won't have support, and as much as I'd like to see him take a 4th Champs-Elysees, I think Aron's right in saying he'll drop out to prepare for the Olympics (unless he's got a good chance for green?).
 

stanc

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Sep 4, 2011
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#13
As a brit I can't see Wiggins winning it. I think I'm just too scared of disappointment. Having said that I would celebrate like crazy if he did, so:

1, Evans
2, Wiggins
3, Nibali

As an aside, this time next week I will be off watching the tour from the roadside somewhere between Dieppe & Rouen. Next thursday I will watch it going through Lyons la Foret. Hopefully the weather will be nice as I am camping.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#14
I like Frank S. quite a bit, but that team is so dysfunctional right now and his TT-ing so poor I can honestly see him not getting into the top 10...?).
LOL - those two are dysfunctional and Im predicting that they are going to find it very hard to find teams wwhen thier current contract is up. Its not the first time these lads have had hissy fits and taken thier ball home.

Sprints do look very interesting this year; Cav has lost weight in preparation for Box Hill and maybe a bit of top end speed with it, Greipel and Kettel are snapping at his heels, he won't have support, and as much as I'd like to see him take a 4th Champs-Elysees, I think Aron's right in saying he'll drop out to prepare for the Olympics (unless he's got a good chance for green?).
Hmmmm, im not sure why you think he lost weight for Box Hill? It's a mole hill to even what we ride here in Japan - I know this as it was my regular haunt back in the UK - compared to what he needs to get over in the TDF I think that is what he has dropped the weight for - so he can challenge more intermediate sprints as well as flat sprint finishes after climbs.

To be honest I don't see him dropping out - he said in interviews he is out to defend the green and he is very committed to the sponsors.

In regards to support - total agree Cav and Wiggo have a history and its not the best of relations, especailly after Beijing. Two major egos in one team, we may see a split in loyalties within the team like ASTANA.

As for Greipel and Kettel, we have seen Cav win solo in some of the toughest situations and total destroy the rest of the sprinting field - the question is, can he do it over and over again?

For the GC - not really bothered, Wiggo is the favourite if he can stay on his bike longer than 5 days.
 

Deej

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Oct 13, 2007
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#16
Hmmmm, im not sure why you think he lost weight for Box Hill? It's a mole hill to even what we ride here in Japan - I know this as it was my regular haunt back in the UK - compared to what he needs to get over in the TDF I think that is what he has dropped the weight for - so he can challenge more intermediate sprints as well as flat sprint finishes after climbs.
I'm guessing Phil read this VeloNews article, or something similar.

Some quotes:

But with Sky committed to Wiggins’ yellow-jersey quest, Cavendish has admitted he is less likely to go for points at the intermediate sprints, which were introduced last year and added some extra drama to the day’s proceedings.

“I haven’t got my eyes on green, to be honest, but there’s always a chance.”

In training for the Olympic road race, to be held six days after the Tour ends in Paris and which features nine ascents of Box Hill in Surrey, Cavendish has lost 4 kilos, according to his team.

This has cost him some power, theoretically boosting the chances of his sprint rivals. But it also means he could be more competitive in stages where undulating terrain might otherwise have ruled him out of contention.

"I’ve got other goals than the Tour de France; it’s going to be a long July,” Cavendish said. “I should be at a lot more finishes than I have been in the past. I lost a bit of power, but there’s no point having power if you’re not going to get to the finish. I’d like to be at the finish before I worry."


Anyway, really looking forward to seeing Cavendish go for it at the TdF!

Deej
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#18
Yes, as Deej says, that Cavendish has been losing weight for Box Hill has been fairly well reported. Here, too, for example:

http://www1.skysports.com/cycling/news/15264/7844210/Cavendish-talks-up-Tour-hopes

"Fortunately for the riders vying for the points classification's green jersey, Cavendish's priority is the Olympic road race on July 28, six days after the Tour concludes in Paris, and it is this focus which has seen him lose four kilograms and a fraction of his trademark power."

"Repetitive climbing and a scientific approach has resulted in the weight loss as Cavendish prepares for the nine ascents of Box Hill in Surrey as he bids to win Olympic gold on the first day of the Games."


As I said though, I think he'll stay in for as long as he has a good shot at taking the green, so we might see him in Paris anyway...
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#19
Thanks for the shares guys,

Very interesting read - really no idea why they are stating its for Boxhill though - in the test run he flew over it with the main Peloton and compared to his efforts at the Milan San Remo the weight loss seems a little OTT.

Again thans for the links to the interviews - the last set I read was that he was 100% committed to the Tour, I guess BCF and the sponsors have shifted priorities.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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#20
Actually thinking about it, it makes no real sence for Cavendish to even go to the TDF if his main goal is the Oylmpic Road Race - other British riders have decided not to race the TDF as thier main focus is Oylmpic gold.

So I'm wondering if Cavendish's appreance at the TDF is more to do with the massive appreance fees he now gets as defending Green Jersey and the World Champion?