VeloNews profiles eight favorites for the Tour this year.
Rider (Country), Team
CADEL EVANS (Aus), Silence-Lotto
CARLOS SASTRE (Sp), CSC
DENIS MENCHOV (Rus), Rabobank
FRÄNK SCHLECK (Lux), CSC
DAMIANO CUNEGO (I), Lampre
KIM KIRCHEN (Lux), Columbia (High Road)
MAURICIO SOLER (Col), Barloworld
ALEJANDRO VALVERDE (Sp), Caisse d’Épargne
You can read the complete analysis of each riders strengths and weaknesses here.
My Prediction: Barring a crash, Evans will ride into Paris in the Maillot Jaune. He can hang with the climbers and he can put time into them in the time trials, as he demonstrated yesterday. Yesterday, during the Time Trial, or what the French call the race of truth, Liggett and Sherwin kept talking about how Cadel has spent a lot of time working on his climbing. I expect this will pay off. He'll be the first Aussie ever to win the Tour.
Th exciting thing about the race this year is, anyone could win. As the roads turn upward, we'll see the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders. The attacks in the mountains and the ripping apart of the peleton is quite fun to watch. The hills begin tomorrow, but they hit the first high mountain stage on Sunday.