Predictions of the Weekend: Tour de France Edition

Well. It’ nice to see that Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel evidently read my blog, from which they have learned that they are bringing four toppity-top GC guys to the Tour de France (which I choose to abbreviate as TdF).

And they’ve taken action.

First, Lance tweeted that he is not the leader of the team. Then BBC Sport reported that Contador is the leader of Astana for the Tour:

“It’s hard to find a better stage race rider than Alberto,” said team manager Johan Bruyneel of the 2007 Tour winner.

“He has worked very hard, earning the right to represent our team as the leader in July.”  

So. There you have it. Everything’s settled. Thanks to me. I am so glad there are people like me in the world to identify and solve the world’s problems

Which means it’s time for us to start obsessing over something else TdF-related. Specifically, it’s time for us to start making predictions of what’s going to happen at this year.

I’ll go first.

There will be an (attempted) official baton passing. During the first regular (non TT) stage, Armstrong will pull a wooden dowel, wrapped in yellow electrical tape, out of his jersey pocket and offer it to Contador. It will be a highly symbolic gesture, and Phil will swoon as Paul tries to do the moment justice. Meanwhile, Contador will have no idea whatsoever Armstrong is trying to convey and will wave away the baton. Armstrong will shrug and put the baton back in his pocket. Misreading this combination of actions, Phil and Paul will endlessly discuss whether Contador refused the talisman out of humility or contempt. Versus will show the attempted handoff ten thousand times.

Versus will completely ignore that Armstrong is riding in a support role. They will make each and every single one of their promos about him, heavily featuring a count from 1 through 7, then ending with an explosive 8. Casual viewers will not be aware that there is anyone else riding in this Tour de France, and will have the impression that Armstrong is doing it solo.

Bob Roll will have grown back his hair. To the degree it’s possible for him to have grown back his hair, that is. Seriously, man, either keep it buzz-cut or shave it entirely.

The Team Time Trial will be one of the very best stages. I say this without irony or (attempted) comedy. I love watching Team Time Trials on their own, and I think that Astana is set for a very fast time. I think, however, that Garmin-Slipstream will beat them, and there will be pandemonium in my family room. And possibly elsewhere.

Exactly two people will be caught doping. I do not know which two. They will not, however, be from the same team.

Two people from Astana will end up on the podium in Paris. Those two people will be Contador and Armstrong. Contador will win, Armstrong will take third. I do not know who will take second, but have a hunch it will be Cadel Evans. I have to say, though, it would be pretty extraordinary if Astana swept the podium. Has a team ever done that before? Would you or would you not flip your wig if it happened this year?

I’ll get all nostalgic. The moment Armstrong drops back to get water bottles for Contador, I’ll get all misty and will suddenly and deeply feel deep in my heart that we are all mortal. Except Cipollini, of course.

I will not watch any of the flat stages live. I intend to liveblog some of the stages, but I will Tivo the flat stages, and will spend on average half an hour fast forwarding through the whole stage, scanning just slowly enough that I’ll be able to recognize when there’s been a crash. I will probably not even mention these stages in my blog, because really, what’s to say?

My fitness will falter. The TdF happens at the same time of day I have carved out for riding my bike. If, during this time, I am instead sitting on the couch eating bowl after bowl of cereal, do you think I’ll gain weight? No, that’s just silly!

My children will ask if they can watch something else, please. And I will say “no.”

Feel free to agree with me and provide supporting evidence in the comments section. Thank you.

PS: More importantly than all of the above, I have browbeaten Joe Lindsey into adding me to his blogroll. Now all I need to do is get Bike Snob NYC to add me to his blogroll (yes, he has a blogroll, but it’s very well hidden; this renders its usefulness questionable at best), and my quest for world domination will be complete

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