Friday Group Ride #74

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

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18 comments

  1. sophrosune

    Podium in no particular order: Cadel Evans, Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Robert Gesink. How’s that for stupid?

  2. Clark

    So long as we’re blurring the line between wishes and predictions, how about Chris Horner first atop l’Alpe d’Huez?

  3. jmg

    Phil is going to kill Van Den Broeck’s chance at a podium by earning himself yellow in the first week and draining too much from his team defending it.

  4. mark capalbo

    Linus Gerdemann gets Chrissie Wellington & Thurlo Rodgers to ride support for him.

    (And then finishes behind both of them in the GC).

  5. Souleur

    Robot, I didn’t think you could feel…but after you wove into the fabric of your prediction of Cuddles, I sense you do really feel. Perhaps its just selective.

    Souleur’s dream podium in July is rather simplistic and rather a euphorian thought in nature but a simple request for a beautiful ride through sunflower clad fields, no in-fighting, no horrific crashes, no dope, beautiful girls in bikinis, good capo’, and a remaining HOPE that the human condition in its pure form can prevail on the Champs Elysees.

    expected or unexpected?

  6. James

    I’m thinking that a break goes clear with guys from most teams in it in one of those Massif Central stages and gets huge time (ala Chiapucci or Voekler a few years back)and one of those guys is an adequate climber and time trialer (like Chavanel)and holds on for the upset of the century! That would be my dream race!

  7. Beth

    Well, I hesitate to call this a “wish”, because I don’t normally ever wish harm to someone. But my big surprise/”wish” would be some kind of very mild early-on injury that took Contador out of the race. Not serious enough for me to feel terrible: just something like knee tendonitis bad enough to retire him from the race. Then we would have a wide-open race with everyone having to readjust their tactics on the fly. It would be actually exciting and suspenseful. How could we get a bigger surprise than that?

  8. Bob

    I wrote an open letter to Andy Schelck begging him to harden up and use some hate. But he didn’t respond. Well maybe his raging today was the response. Still I’m going to say

    4.Van Den Brocek
    3.Horner
    2.Schelck
    1.Evans — because he’s already got the rage.

  9. armybikerider

    #1. Cancellera losing the prologue to David Miller – Miller and I share the same first name
    #2. Peter Sagan takes the Green and White jersey – the youngster is flying
    #3. Hincapie podiums – last (chance) tour probably so why not
    #4. A. Schleck takes Yellow – I want to see him take Contador
    #5. Wiggens rounds out the podium – to show that the Dauphine’ win wasn’t a fluke
    #6. Jose Rujano takes the polka dot jersey – I loved his Giro Stage 13 performance, plus it’s about time for a rider from Venezuela to shine (is he even riding the tour?)
    and…….NO words uttered or typed that contain the word “dope”

  10. Joe

    ohh… bold/stupid predictions? That sounds like fun.
    I’m predicting an American sweep of the podium.
    1- Chris Horner
    2- Christian V.
    3- Levi L.

    Sorry to all the Hincapie fans out there…. I’m not that bold

  11. michael

    Michael Barry (if he rides the tour) telling his mates to take a hike, he is riding for himself this time. getting in a long break. winning a stage. pulling on yellow, holding it to the mountains.

  12. Ben

    1. Wiggo
    2. Evans
    3. Sagan
    Theses stupid predictions were brought to you by a big dummy w/ unrealistic hopes.

  13. Phil

    Philippe Gilbert wins the green jersey.
    Mark Cavendish crashes out, blaming Contador for being in his way.
    Cadel will take his dog up to the podium with him.

  14. Erik

    Tom Danielson Tom Danielson Tom Danielson Tom Danielson. Just a stage is all I ask. Or even a gutsy break.

    Oh, and Jon Gadret is totally not riding in support of Nicholas Roche, no matter what he is supposed to be doing.

    Podium: Evans (please), Contador (’cause, well, he is pretty good), and the Schlecks turn out to be tapped out so CVV pulls it off.

    There.

    1. Padraig

      Allrighty then. If it’s okay to vote for Danielson and other guys who are going to be on the beach, or ought to be on the beach in July, then I’m voting for Spiny the Unicorn. He’s pink, has a mare named Giuliana, and has only been sighted by people who partake of controlled substances.

      Oh, and while we’re talking nonsense, I say Contador rides something other than Zipp’s slowest wheel.

      This is going to be a good Tour.

  15. Erik

    Come on, Padraig. Everyone knows that Spiny the Unicorn hasn’t had a good race since Fleche Wallone in 2002. He’s not a GC guy.

  16. Brcire

    What? Only one reference to John Gadret? I see the real battle royale between Gadret and Voeckler, with Chavanel storming the ring from time to time but in the end. They all blow themselves up and Tom Danielson passes them.

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