The premier three-week stage race opens this coming Saturday with a prologue in Belgium. Looking at the course description, this will be the year for sprinters and time trial specialists. This is probably not good news for Frank Schleck of Team Radio Shack Nissan Trek who is an excellent climber but less than mediocre time trial rider. Moreover, he is on a team that might not exist next season as its sports director is under investigation by the USADA and its two top riders have already given signs they will be looking for new contracts next season. Should the Schleck brothers move on, Fabian Cancellara will probably go too.
So who will win the General Classification, Points Jersey and the highly coveted King of the Mountain Jerseys?
I think Frank Schleck should forget about the GC title and go for the King of the Mountains (Red polka dot) jersey. He has several riders capable of supporting him the the few really big climbing stages, so I am going with Frank on this.
The points (green jersey) should be a duel between Mark Cavendish of Team Skye and Peter Sagan of Liquigas-Cannondale. Sagan blew everyone away at the Tour of California and the Tour of Switzerland. Moreover, at the final sprint stage at the Criterium de Dauphine Cavendish was jumped at the finish line by an unknown rider from a development squad. Cavendish had his lead out working perfectly and no one doubted he would win, but he finished second by an entire bike length. I am going with Sagan on this.
Barring injury, the General Classification will go to Bradley Wiggins of Team Skye. He is on great form and has totally dominated last year’s winner Cadel Evans of BMC Racing Team. No repeat here.
I do not know who all the new riders are and am not picking a winner for the best young rider. Any thoughts on this?
This year’s race promises a lot of excitement with bunch sprints, but I am a climber myself and will miss having a lot of mountain top finishes. Relax, kick back, record it on the recorder so you can re-watch the race to your heart’s content.