It seems like this years Pro cycling season has just been flying by. With so much happening it's been hard to devote some time to who I think could make it happen this year. But here it goes anyway...
Pretty much every single article I've read on the subject seems to think this years tour is going to be made up of the Evans and Wiggo Show. I must admit that it's hard to disagree.
There really are only two things that I see that could derail Wiggo's charge at a tour win (Besides luck.) First his team. They have shown themselves to be right at his side throught the spring and early summer. But the tour isn't just any bike race. It will be surprising to me if I don't see Wiggins islolated in the high mountains. Second is his climbing ability. With the large amount of weight that he's lost he has shown himself to be an excelent climber. But he can't answer those changes in pace like a pure climber can. People like Sanchez, Nibali, and Evans can all put in a serious dig that will put Wiggo on the back foot.
Like both Wiggins and Evens, Ryder is an excellent time trialist. He can climb exceptionally well. But like Wiggo he can't handle the severe changes of pace like a pure climber can. His team is exceptional: Vande Velde, Dave Z, Millar, Martin, Danielson... All these guys are amazing in their own right. But as a team they can produce magic. Especially with Jonathan Vaughters at the helm. The only thing that I really see as a detriment to Ryder is if he isn't fully recovered yet. We've seen it with a lot of other riders, Menchov, Basso, hell, even Contador isn't immune to the lack of recovery time between these two monster tours. But something tells me he might just pull it off.
There are of course a boat load of other riders who have a legitimate shot at the win. Sanchez, Menchov, Leipheimer, Horner (Or Schleck if he's playing opossum.) and Gesink all come to mind.
I know I'm going to get a lot of heat from some of my American contingent for not putting Levi or Horner on the more prominent list. And please believe me when I say I would love nothing more than to see either one of them walk up to the top step on that podium. But I just don't see it... They both haven't shown flashes of brilliance lately. As well as the fact that they both are getting a bit long in the tooth. I could see a solid top ten or maybe even top five. But it would be very surprising to me to see them on the podium at the end. A wonderful surprise though, if I was wrong...
So to put it in writting. Guaranteeing that I get it all wrong. I'm going to say this...
Hesjedal, Sanchez and Menchov
What a truly exciting moment.
It's tour time baby!!!!
Rubber side down,