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:
- 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:
- 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.