My top-3 for Paris

July 20, 2011

Note: I wrote this yesterday before Contador lit up the stage to Gap. I see no reason (and have no time as I am traveling to France today) to change it, although my realistic #3 seems less realistic now:

Before the Tour I predicted that Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador would NOT finish 1st and 2nd (in whatever order). I stand by that prediction. So how about a top-3 at this stage of the game? Well, since crashes, etc become a bit less likely now that the peloton is getting tired (strange really, that fatigue makes it safer), I have two top-3s.

My dream Top-3 mixed with some bits of reality would be:

  1. Voeckler
  2. Danielson
  3. Taaramae (always thought he was a cool rider)

But it would take 8 people falling out of the top-10 to make that happen, which may be a stretch. Thinking about what will really happen, it might be closer to this:

  1. Contador
  2. Evans
  3. Andy Schleck

The reason I think Contador will win is that he should get in better shape as he continues to recover from the first week spills (if that is really what has been holding him back), and he can deliver a flawless time trial. At the same time, many of his rivals have a proven ability to fluff the time trial when it really matters. The real dark horse is of course Voeckler, and I do think he actually has a chance to finish on the podium instead of Andy Schleck. It would be good for the sport. As usual, the Zoetemelk clause for predictions applies.

19 Responses to “My top-3 for Paris”

  1. david Says:

    If they finish Contador > Evans > Schleck, they should just give the win to Evans. That’s what is gonna happen after the Court of Arbitration meeting anyhoo…

  2. Matthew Says:

    Given the racing to date I have to say that I hope that Contador wins. Although Frank attacked a bit last week it was more that no one reacted. If I had to put money on it I would go for the following top 3:

    Evans > Contador > Voeckler.

    But hey, what do I know.

    I was really very disappointed at Andy’s (I think it was him and not Frank as reported on Cyclingnews) that the run in to Gap was dangerous and the tou shouldn’t be decided on a descent. All smacked a bit of sour grapes. I appreciate that the Leopard team have more right than most to stand on the ‘safety’ aspects of cycle racing, but his comments were out of order. Again, that said, there appears to be a lot of this sort of ‘speak first think later’ which I guess you can put down to post stage interviews happening when riders are knackered and emotional (e.g. Tyler’s dig at Cav the other day).

    Anyway, it looks like the Tour is coming alive.

    Oh dear – I’ve said all this and not mentioned Thor’s cracking ride. What a champ.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Sanchez is the dark horse here .

    • Yes he is, quite strong. And definitely under the radar. I guess that’s the good thing about this Tour (unlike many other editions), we’re five days from Paris with seven people still in contention for the podium.

  4. RacePace Says:

    I think Schlecks are too busy not wanting to be beaten to actually win and I think Evans will pip Contador on the podium…

    So Evans, Contador, Schleck (either of them, I don’t care, I find them dull, I know they are exceptional athletes but they don’t have the star quality of Hushovd or Gilbert, and Andy can’t seem to find a helmet that fits his head)

    Contador will be cleared in August by UCI after a new minimum limit for Clenbuterol will be introduced? stranger things have happened…

  5. RacePace Says:

    I do hope Voeckler proves me wrong though, that would be cool to see him up there, he has ridden way beyond expectation!

  6. Operarunner Says:

    I couldn’t agree more with race pace. Evans contador schleck. All hugely boring.

    • I wonder why you think Contador is boring? He always attacks when he can (you can’t fault him for not attacking the first day in the Pyrenees when he was so beaten up he was happy to survive). Plus he gives you a 26-episode full-season courtroom drama!

      • RacePace Says:

        They are all very tactical, Evans, he has to be at this stage as his trump card is the TT so has to just stay in contention, although his attack yesterday was really good, ( he does remind me of michaelk jackson for some weird reason though, odd), Schleck both are dull and they need to really attack to make some time and stop me going to sleep – oh and get your helmet on straight! Contador, he’s okay, he attacks properly even if he knows he’s not 100% and like you say we have no idea if he will still be around or anything he has done in the last 12 months will matter come August!

        What’s your gut feeling on Contador, Gerard?

  7. spanielsson Says:

    I think to call Contador boring is way off the mark, did people sleep through the Giro?! The competition was not the same, but such a show of dominance was fantastic to watch. I’m nit sure any other rider would have approached such a difficult course in the same way.

    I believe Evans will stay with Contador on the climbs and will use his ability to descend to drop the Schleck’s and possibly AC. Today’s stage (providing all goes well for him) will see Cadel distance himself from the others and
    gain time on Voeckler, as with yesterday, but to greater effect.

    What allowed Andy Schleck to be a contender last year was his brother only being there for two and a half stages, what will stop him this year is Frank going the distance.

  8. Come on! French need a new Laurent Fignon. he will be beaten by 3 s… by Cadel Evans.

    And to me, Sanchez is really strong this year.

    So it will be Evans/Voeckler/Sanchez.

    In my dream… it would be.

    1. Roy (come on he is an engineer)/2. Ryder (come on he is canadian)/3. I don’t care.

  9. 1. Thor
    2. Thor
    3. Thor

  10. ancker Says:

    I agree with your viewpoint on the Schlecks. Their racing up to this point has been somewhat boring, but I can’t say I blame them.

    They see Contador as their closest rival and have a sizeable gap over him. As we saw in today’s stage, Contador attacked and pulled away on the descent, only to be caught at before the line. All the Schlecks have to do is stay with Contador to beat him.

    Now Evans might be a spoiler. He’s ahead of the brothers and Voeckler seems to be losing time bit by bit. If Evans can sit in for the last few stages, he has a chance to take it ahead of Contador and Frank.

    That said, the Schlecks lack of attacking early on has hopefully left a decent amount in the tank and will lead to some excitement in the last few stages. Word on the street is Andy has been working on the TT skills as well. :)

  11. Cam in TX Says:

    Not in order>> Evans, Contador, Sanchez, even though having Voeckler there would be awesome! I don’t think either of the Schlecks have got it this year.

  12. Tim Says:

    I’d love to see Voeckler win it. Just for the heck of it. I wonder what his odds were before the tour started? Does anybody know? But I think he and his team are running out of gas from defending the jersey for so long.

    The Schleck Brothers have already lost again, as far as I’m concerned. Not even a podium for them this year.

    I just want someone other than Contador to win. I’m still bitter that he’s found a loophole to ride this year with both A&B samples positive. Where’s the justice?

    My podium picks:
    1. Evans
    2. Contador
    3. Sanchez

    Watch out for Sanchez pulling a Sastre on the Alpe d’Huez:
    1. Sanchez
    2. Evans
    3. Contador

    Vive Le Tour!
    Vive Le Thor!
    Cleanup the UCI!
    Jens for President!

  13. Matthew Says:

    Wow – I take back everything I have ever said about Schleck not having it in him. What a great ride from the younger Schleck.

    Still, only a minor change to my previous prediction.

    Evans > A Schleck > Voekler

    Tour really is coming alive now.

  14. Reading these comments a day latter is entertaining. What a difference a day makes. I won’t make any further predictions myself, because who really knows what’s going to happen on Stage 19?

    I take that back, here’s a prediction: Frank attacks, and Andy drops Voeckler, leaving the Schlecks 1-2 tomorrow, only to both get clocked by Cadel in the TT.

  15. Andrew Says:

    We are *really* bad at predicting cycling!!

    Go Andy!

  16. Ian Walton Says:

    Glad so many got it wrong. Well done Cadel. And Cav. :-)

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