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With just over four weeks until the start of the Tour de France, now seems a good time to have a laugh at some of the other 'favourites' who will be left trailing in Wiggo's wake...

As the magazines and guides start to fill the newsagents shelves, our minds can start to turn to the start of the Tour de France ... in Belgium ...

We all know who we want to win, and I don't want to mention him for fear of being a curse. And of course I have previously stated on this very blog that I dont think he could ever win it... humble pie could be in the oven by the end of next month.

But who else could win this flatter, less mountainous, time trial friendly Tour?

Cadel Evans - This guy doesnt seem to be your stereotypical happy go lucky Aussie. In fact far from spending his off season eating prawns on a beach in his budgie smugglers, I think he spends all his time in a wind tunnel perfecting cyclings most aerodynamic chin Oh and perfecting ways of keeping his dogs safe in the Tour start and finish village.

It might take someone to tread on his pooches tail to get his fired up enough for his defence of the yellow jersey. Mainly because this season he has been pretty woeful and is getting cold (as there is no sunlight in Bradley's shadow).

Can the man nicknamed "Cuddles" win the Tour again? Well unless he can get the BMC team all pulling in the same direction I think not. Thor and PhilGil will have their own agendas, in fact they will probably be trying to out breakaway each other...

What Cadel does have is "Big" George Hincapie and decent mountain support from the likes of Martin Kohler and Tee Jay Van Gaarderen who is clearly destined for greatness.

Andy Schleck - Won the 2010 Tour in early 2012, but that has been the pinnacle of a season which saw him flop in the Ardennes classics. I attack a club 10 with more determination than this bloke who I now fear might be remembered more for his chain falling off than for his magical attack last year.

Says it all really. I am not a fan, although I do know a bloke who looks remarkably like him.

Frank Schleck - Did he actually appear at all in the Giro? See above mainly, although at least Frank had his day in the sun on Alp D'huez.

Other than that I think his time has gone.

I am looking forward to Radioshack/Nissan/Leopard/Trek trying to accommodate these two and Andreas Kloden (before he falls off and retires from the race of course).

Thomas Voeckler- If the gag is good enough for ITV to use it for 8 years then it isn't going to stop me. Cycling's very own Harry Enfield look a like (Copyright Ned Boulting) could actually spring a surprise again and run the so-called favourites close. My main fear for Europcar is their ability to control the flat stages which could be chaos is Cav doesn't spend too long in the race and Sky let it all happen around them.

The mountains see him well covered with Anthony Charteau and Pierre Rolland.

Most of the other teams aren't going to be arriving with real GC stars so there will be plenty of dangerous riders in the peloton who are there to cause as much damage as possible.

Jonny Hoogerland, Juan Antonio Flecha to name but two (who were attacked by a car last year) can go well over most terrain and I have a good feeling for Rein Tarramae, depending on how his Dauphine goes.

The Lotto team will be trying to keep Jurgen Vandenbrocke on the island to prove his climbing display of 2010 was no fluke although team mate and similarly named Jelle Vanendeart might be the better prospect.

For the sprints a lot depends on the aforementioned Mark Cavendish and how much of the race he completes after a tough Giro. It still wouldn't surprise me if it was none of it at all, which would leave Team Sky able to focus on Bradley.

Andrei Griepel will be the man most likely but I am expecting a swansong green jersey for Thor Hushovd as he won't need a BMC train to pick up points and built a lead in that competition.

I already cant wait and hope to find time to blog plenty more in the build up and during the race, so stay tuned.

 

James has been blogging for road.cc for 5 years and racing bicycles (averagely) for 20 years. 

31 comments

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drheaton [3318 posts] 3 years ago
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Possibly one of the big GC threats (if he can stay upright) might Janez Brajkovic who can climb and TT and possibly even Nibali if he rides, personally I can't see past Evans/Wiggins but it should be interesting as the real climbers will have to make up more time on the mountains and that'll hopefully spice up the racing.

My tip for a top 5? Pierre Rolland, as long as Voeckler doesn't get in the yellow and he has to drag him up every small incline again like last year.

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 3 years ago
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Tom Danielson?

Dan Martin?

Cristophe Le Mevel?

even Tony Martin?

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James Warrener [1080 posts] 3 years ago
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Tom Danielson will fall off, Dan Martin will target stages...

Le Mevel is too fragile, Tony Martin, yeah he could do ok.

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drheaton [3318 posts] 3 years ago
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I doubt Tony Martin will be able to keep up in the hills as the climbers will have to really go for it in order to pick up enough time on the TTers.

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NeilG83 [283 posts] 3 years ago
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I don't think it's a route just for the TTers. I think the Grand Colombier stage will be very interesting. I've heard that it's the steepest climb ever included in the Tour de France. Climbers will have a big opportunity to take time out of Evans, Wiggins & Martin. Wiggins probably lost last year's Veulta on the Angliru, although Le Grand Colombier is not quite as steep. We will see how he deals with it in the Dauphine.
Sky announced their Dauphine squad today, which means it should be fairly easy to work out the TdF team as last year it was the 8 from the Dauphine plus Swift. Sky's Dauphine squad is Wiggins, Froome, Pate, Porte, Knees, EBH, Siutsou & Rogers. I think for the Tour Cav will come in and probably Eisel for Rogers.
Also, I'm interested in who Garmin will take to the Tour. Will Hesjedal & Vandevelde go having done the Giro?

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drheaton [3318 posts] 3 years ago
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Surely Garmin, having won a Grand Tour, will be more prepared now to give Farrar a bit of backing in the sprints. They may take the likes of Martin, Miller, Haussler and Vansummeren to supplement Farrar in looking for sprint or other stage wins but I wouldn't be surprised to see Talansky given some support this time around.

Having won a GT the pressure is off to some extent and they don't have to do anything, they've probably got a good enough base of UCI points to build on so unlike Rabo and RSN who've had torrid seasons so far Garmin won't really have to go into the tour with an outright contender.

For me, it's going to be interesting to see how many of the TT specialists (Zabriskie, Larsson, Rasmussen, Cancellara etc) ride and how many of them stick it out to the end of the race and how many jump early in preparation for the Olympics.

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samjackson54 [54 posts] 3 years ago
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Nobody backing Menchov or Gesink? - they could come in under the radar this year. Normally listed as favourites might work in their favour.

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Simon_MacMichael [2443 posts] 3 years ago
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I said it last year when the route was revealed, and I'll say it again - Sagan for the green jersey.

Wiggins for the win, Evans and Nibali to complete the podium.

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londonplayer [620 posts] 3 years ago
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Chris Froome is in with a chance surely? Especially if he is going to be working with Bradley, like he did in the Vuelta. He can climb, he can TT. He is a fantastic rider!

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SamShaw [264 posts] 3 years ago
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Well we now know Jimmy's picks for the Fantasy Tour competition!

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Debarrio [78 posts] 3 years ago
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Funny article, but....a preview without even mentioning Nibali, Gesink, Tony Martin who all quite fancy their chances? A preview that doesn't go into the slightly embarrassing cock fight between Bruyneel and the Schleck brothers? Not to mention (well, that's a lie) the misspelling of no less than SEVEN riders (the correct names are Tejay van Garderen, Andreas Klöden, Fränk Schleck, Johnny Hoogerland, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Jelle Vanendert and André Greipel)...

Call me an old sourpuss, but I'd say: back to the drawing board.

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londonplayer [620 posts] 3 years ago
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Debarrio,

Umlauts aren't commonly used in the english language, unlike in europe, so most spellings of their names will be as above.

Does it really matter? You know exacty who Jimmy is talking about. Not exactly as if it is ambiguous is it?

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Stefan [59 posts] 3 years ago
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France have quite a few young riders coming through; Arnold Jeannesson, Pierre Rolland etc, wouldnt be surprised if they featured near the top!

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stumps [3186 posts] 3 years ago
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Taking away Evans and Wiggins i cant see past Gesink.

However there is always someone who surprises everyone and when it happens we all go "bugger me never thought about him".

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Debarrio [78 posts] 3 years ago
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I still fancy Nibali's chances in the Tour. Gesink and Van den Broeck are more or less on the same level and should be able to ride top 10, maybe top 5, but no chances of winning.

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Debarrio [78 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

Debarrio,

Umlauts aren't commonly used in the english language, unlike in europe, so most spellings of their names will be as above.

Does it really matter? You know exacty who Jimmy is talking about. Not exactly as if it is ambiguous is it?

First of all, let me start by saying that my pet peeve is directed against the misspelling of names (I assume you don't want to be called lodnonpalyre) than the omitting umlauts. But, while I acknowledge that umlauts are not commonly used in English (and I see you use the term "Europe" loosely, seemingly excluding the UK, you surely mean that umlauts are used in SOME European languages...), that doesn't change the fact that their names are written in a certain way, does it? And when you don't want to write "Klöden", there is the internationally accepted alternative of adding an "e" and write Kloeden.

And no, it does not really matter, and I certainly don't mind skipping umlauts, accent graves or tildes e.a. in e-mails, comments or chat rooms, but if you're writing an editorial or blog which is meant to be published, I feel it's just common courtesy towards both the subject and the reader to make sure the names are accurate or you risk losing your audience.

Never mind, just me rambling.

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 3 years ago
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Good to see another member of the higher echelon of English Speakers.

 1

SO, in case we miss someone out, I thought I'd go through my outsiders, some more serious than others:

Dë Gëndt
Bräjkövïc
Hörnër
Klödën
Wéèning
Wéénïng
Sänchëz
Vøécklér
Täärämäé
VËLITS
Güsév
Rüïjgh
Dë Vëërt
Säbätïnï (LOL)
Röché
Düpønt

More later.

Can't think of anÿ

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Debarrio [78 posts] 3 years ago
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 6

Finally! My umlauts! Come to daddy...

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James Warrener [1080 posts] 3 years ago
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samjackson54 wrote:

Nobody backing Menchov or Gesink? - they could come in under the radar this year. Normally listed as favourites might work in their favour.

Both will fall off...

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 3 years ago
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Debarrio wrote:

 6

Finally! My umlauts! Come to daddy...

I've accordingly changed my Signature

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James Warrener [1080 posts] 3 years ago
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Raleigh wrote:

Dë Gëndt
Bräjkövïc
Hörnër
Klödën
Wéèning
Wéénïng
Sänchëz
Vøécklér
Täärämäé
VËLITS
Güsév
Rüïjgh
Dë Vëërt
Säbätïnï (LOL)
Röché
Düpønt

Pretty comprehensive list I have to say.

Even if Weening is in there twice.

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James Warrener [1080 posts] 3 years ago
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Oh and of course, since I wrote this piece it has been confirmed Thor is out...

http://road.cc/content/news/59584-bmc-racing-confirms-thor-hushovd-miss-...

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James Warrener [1080 posts] 3 years ago
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Debarrio wrote:

Call me an old sourpuss, but I'd say: back to the drawing board.

ou are a sourpuss with too much time on your hands if you can check my spelling.

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 3 years ago
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Look how small Cadel is.

TINYMAN

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Debarrio [78 posts] 3 years ago
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Yeah, I know. Two years ago, when the Giro took off in Amsterdam, I quite literally bumped into him in a hotel lobby. I thought he was a 12 year old, before I realised who I had bumped into.  43

And Jimmy, checking your spelling doesn't mean I have too much time on my hands, but maybe reading your article does  19

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Ghedebrav [1098 posts] 3 years ago
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Agree with above comments re. Chris Froome. You can probably still get good value odds on Froome making the podium, and if anything happens to BW then Sky will surely focus their attentions on the canny Kenyan. Nibali could also be a decent outside shout for top five.

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Ghedebrav [1098 posts] 3 years ago
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Any thoughts on the KotM? Does anyone still care about the poor old polka dots?

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livestrongnick [2118 posts] 3 years ago
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If Wiggo does fail then sky will put everything on Cav first! But Wiggo won't fail and i don't see Evans in the top 3!  19

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thefatcyclist [543 posts] 3 years ago
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Too many time trials and not enough mountain top finishes for Frank Schleck, but the TDS should make people think.

Lots of descending so Nibali and Gesink have a chance.

Cavendish will rue the Giro.

Wiggins and Evans may cancel each other out.

I'm for somebody from under the radar, Froome won't do it unless Wiggins is doing poorly and pulls out for London. The course could be set up for Voekleur, Rolland will be sacrificed for Tommy.

All the top riders in Sky and BMC will be sacrificed for Wiggins and Evans, but now Hushovd is out BMC have more flexibility.

Rui Costa will not win a 3 week race...yet. Cobo was a fluke last year.

I think liepheimer may be coming back to form and I think he is my pick, if he stays near the leaders during days 1-9 up to the ist TT.

NIEVE
DANIELSON
KRUIJSWIJK
VALVERDE
ROCHE

At least one of these to podium.

Sagan may have a chance if he time trials to his best, due to the lack of mountain top finishes.

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HarveyMorcombe [42 posts] 3 years ago
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does anyone know if juan jose cobo will be in the tour

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