We’re still two weeks away, but screw it, let’s start talking about the Tour de France. Of course, the easiest topic to blab about would be Alberto Contador’s presence in the race thanks entirely to delays in his doping appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. BORING!!!!!!!!!!!
The next most obvious subject would be the reprisal of the Contador v. Schleck rivalry. As I type these words, A. Schleck is storming up a hillside in Switzerland in desperate pursuit of climbing form for the Tour. BUT…since every website and magazine even tangentially related to cycling is going to be thrashing this story like an original Vision Gator skateboard, let’s leave it to them.
No, what we have in mind this week is surprises. Like Pieter Weening in the Giro, or 2006 Thomas Voekler. Like the end of the Wizard of Oz (spoiler: it was all just a crazy dream). Or like Mark Cavendish giving a measured, reasonable response to an interview question. What we want to talk about is who we think has a surprise in store at this season’s Grand Boucle.
Allow me to inch (centimeter) my way out onto the proverbial limb. I believe Cadel Evans will win the Tour de France. More than one French rider will finish in the top ten.
See how easy that was. Bold (read: stupid) predictions. That’s what we want.
It might be important to recognize that predictions are usually born of wishes, but then that might not be important at all. For instance, I pull for Cadel Evans, not because he looks like an elf/troll hybrid or because he, like me, loves his dog, but because his name (first and family) is as Welsh as male voice choirs or high quality coal, and my forebears are Welsh, too.
Thus am I able to draw a straight line between my tribal fealties and cycling nerdery. As for the French riders approaching the podium, this is simply a wish on my part for France not to get too discouraged about cycling. They had the decency to invent bicycles and then set up all these races for people from virtually everywhere else to win. We should at least let them sniff the podium, right?
Now let’s see you do the trick. Tell us which bit of unexpected we should expect to transpire and why you think it will happen.
Image: John Pierce, Photosport International