Detailed Tour de France Preview - Yellow Jersey


New Member
Jan 30, 2006

The following Preview has been sourced from many different sources and feature the top 20 main chances. One of these 20 riders will win the Tour. I have done my best to include past history. My opinions are strictly my opinions and no one elses.

1. Cadel Evans

Team:Silence Lotto

Current Odds: $3/$1.40

The Aussie finished on the podium last year and the year before rode himself into the top 10. I cannot understand why his odds are so short. He is a chance but he won't win. There is value in other riders. He finished second to Valverde in the Dauphine last week and came second in the Flech-Wallone. He won stage 4 in Paris-Nice also this year.
He has shown he can handle a Grand tours with a 2nd last year, 4th 2006 and 8th 2005. He has also posted a 4th overall in the Veulta last year. The lack of time trial kilometres in this may cost him as I don't believe he is strong enough in the mountains. However, he has the form there. Threat. Consider.

Prediction: 4th

2. Alejandro Valverde

Team:Caisse D'Espargne

Current Odds: $5/$1.80

Alejandro set the Dauphine alight with blistering form in the mountains. Won the time trial too in superb fashion. His form this year has been good with a few races he has won including Leige-Bastonge-Leige and he is clearly on form if his Dauphine form is to go by. However there is still a question mark over his grand tour rides over the past few years. In 2005 he beat Lance Armstrong up Alp D'Huez but failed to finish the tour. He failed to finish the tour in 2006 and last year he finished 6th but looked ****. In the Veulta he has finished 2nd in 2006, 4th in 2004 and 3rd in 2003. But his lack of results at the Tour is a worry but has proven he can ride. However he is riding the best I have ever seen him ride and he has a strong backup in his team. There are still doubts over his ability to complete a 3 week race too. Main threat! Consider.

Prediction: 2nd

3. Denis Menchov

Team: Rabobank

Current Odds $7.50/$2.20

Denis Menchov is the Tim Henman of Wimbledon. Always up there but no chance of winning. His form has been scratchy at best and I can't see him winning. However, the experience is there so that may count for something. He came 5th in the Giro this year but didn't look spectacular. But that may be because he was concentrating for the Tour and his fitness wasn't there. He won the Veulta in 2007 and 2005 so he has at least 2 grand tours to his name. His tour performances have been white jersey in 2003 and came 6th in 2006. He doesn't have Rasmussen there with him so he is team leader and he has a good team around him. Up there!

Prediction: 9th

4. Damiano Cunego

Team: Lampre

Current Odds $10/$3.25

Cunego has raced the Tour once before and finished 11th and won the white jersey for the best young riders competition back in 2006. He has his goal set on the tour this year. Has already got a grand tour under his belt so he knows how to win them. He won the Giro in 2004. However his form is a bit worrying in Switzerland at the moment. He was dropped on an easy climb in stage 5. It may or may not be something to look into. He won the Amstel Gold Race earlier this year and finished on the podium in Leige-Bastonge-Leige so he has had a good year and prepared for the Tour. He's had a look at a few stages and one that he wants to win is stage 15 which finishes in Italy. One to beat!
Prediction: 1st

5. Andy Schleck

Team: CSC

Current Odds: $11/$3.75

This rider from Luxemberg is talent. He is young, 23 years old but has shown promising signs early in his career. He came second in the Giro last year so knows how to perform in the Grand tours. In 2008 he has come 4th in Leige-Bastonge-Leige and has been thereabouts in Switzerland. The thing with Andy is CSC have 3 riders who are in contention for the Tour. It's hard to tell who will lead them this year. I would say Andy would be the man but his brother Frank and the seasoned veteran Sastre are also candidates. I don't think he has ever participated in the Tour either so based on these reasons I would wait and see what happens with CSC. Respect but hold out!

Prediction: 7th

6. Carlos Sastre

Team: CSC

Current Odds: $15/$4.25

As with Menchov, Sastre aswell can be considered the Tim Henman of Wimbledon. Up there all the time but no chance of winning. Last year he finished 4th and the year before he finished 3rd so he is always up there. He has also won a Tour de France stage. His results this year are poor and it's hard to read on his form. Yes, I believe he will be up there and may sneak onto the podium but again, he is competing with the Schleck brothers for leadership. With his tour record he needs to be given respect.

Prediction: 12th

7. Stijn Devolder

Team: Quickstep

Current Odds: $23/$6.50

This guy has never participated in the tour. He has only done the Vuelta. Came 24th in 2005 and 11th in 2006 with Discovery Channel. He came 3rd in the tour of Switzerland last year. He has posted impressive results this year. He won the Volta ao Algarve and posted 1st in the Time Trial. He came first in the Tour of flanders and won the Tour of Belgium including Stage 4 which was a Time Trial and won the mountains classification. This guy can Time Trial so with the 2 time trials in this years tour he can put some good performances in. His form this year is hard to go past and he has had previous experience in the Veulta. With Boonen testing positive to Cocaine and being barred from the Tour, Quickstep could go in now with a full team to support Devolder. However as this is his first Tour de France I can't see him winning or podium but a top 10 is not out of the question.

Prediction: 8th

8. Samuel Sanchez

Team: Euskatel-Euskadi

Current Odds: $26/$7

Interesting with this guy. I think he rode Paris-Nice as the only race this year. They are keeping him fresh for the Tour and he's targetting the tour. Armstrong did the same. Always targetted the tour and never raced any races and Sam is following Lance's steps. He has never raced the Tour before but his results over the last few years in the Veulta have been impressinve nonetheless. In 2007 he came third overall and won 3 stages including a time trial so the man can time trial. In 2006 he came 6th in the Veulta and won a stage and in 2005 he came 11th and won a stage so he is familar with Grand tours and how they should be raced. I see this man finishing top 5. He may win, but it's doubtful. Podium possibly. Consider!

Prediction: 5th

9. Mauricio Soler

Team: Barloworld

Current Odds: $31/$8.50

This young guy from Columbia stormed onto the scene in the tour last year. Aside from Contador he was the revelation to come out of the tour. He won stage 9 and won the king of the mountains jersey in 2007. He reminds me a bit of Rasmussen and he can do danger if he gets in a break and lasts. To win the tour this year it may take a successful breakaway. He can climb and he knows how to race. There is a bit of a concern about his team. In the Giro he raced poorly due to a crash so it's hard to get a read on his form. Whilst this guy is talent I can't see him getting a podium spot and top 10 looks likely. See how he goes over the first 2 weeks.

Prediction: 13th

10. Thomas Dekker

Team: Rabobank

Current Odds: $31/$8.50

This young dutch rider can climb and time trial. If he has raced the Tour before, he did nothing. Last year he won the Tour of Romandie including a few stages. This year he came 5th in the Amstel Gold and Flech-Wallone. He came 6th in Leige-Bastogne-Leige. He came 3rd Overall, Vuelta a Castilla y León and won the points classification and finished on the podium in 4 stages. He can do some damage in the tour but I think he may get a stage win or two. More importantly, I think he will be helping out Menchov thus not worth following. However, if Menchov rides **** he may take the mantle of team leader so watch him.

Prediction: 15th

11. Yaroslav Popovych

Team: Silence-Lotto

Current Odds: $36/$9.00

This guy from Russia is a good talent. However, his main goal will be helping out Evans. He has good form in the Grand tours. In the Giro - 12th in 2002, 3rd 2003, 5th 2004. In the Tour his results are 12th 2005, 25th 2006, 8th 2007. He came third overall in Paris-Nice this year. He can finish top 10 and he may push for podium but it's unlikely. Again with Dekker, if the team leader - in this case, Evans pulls out then this guy may be a shot. Watch!

Prediction: 17th

12. Ricardo Ricco

Team: Saulnier-Duval

Current Odds: $36/$9.00

I don't think this guy wants to be here. I think I read a few months ago he didn't want to ride the tour. So it's hard to get a read on this guy. He came second overall in the Giro and won two stages this year and last year he came 6th. So he can perform on the big stage. If this guy's head is in it, he can do damage. He is a dangerous rider and a possibility to be in contention. But hard to tell. Consider!

Prediction: 18th

13. Oscar Peirero

Team: Caisse D'Espargne

Current Odds: $41/$10

His main job this year will be helping out leader Valverde. However he has had success at the Tour before. He won the 2006 race after Floyd Landis got the title stripped off him. His performances in the Tour have been 10th in 2004 and 2005. First 2006 and 10th 2007. He only won in 2006 because he was in a breakaway that the peloton let escape. This guy is a breakaway specialist thus I can't see him challenging for the win or the podium unless Valverde crashes out. Even then I don't think he is good enough for top 5. Top 10 - more than likely. Watch him win a stage or two this year in a breakaway as he will be in some breakaways. Watch!

Prediction: 19th

14. Frank Schleck

Team: CSC

Current Odds: $46/$11

Unlike Andy, Frank has posted decent results this year and in previous years. He is talent aswell. He came second in the Amstel Gold and 3rd in Leige-Bastonge-Leige. He has had impressive results in other races but hasn't broken through to win a race yet this year. In the tour last year he came 17th. In 2006 he won stage 15 in the Tour and came 11th. So he has had experience in the Tour. In the tour of switzerland he crashed on a decent in stage 5 but escaped serious injury so there are question marks over his descending. However aside from that his form this year has been solid and his performances in the Tour in previous years he warrants value. Again, it's hard to tell who will lead CSC. But with odds like these he is worth a ponder and these 3 CSC boys should all finish top 10.

Prediction: 14th

15. Christophe Moreau

Team: Agritubel

Current Odds: $51/$12

He was expected to race well last year but failed to do so. He is a veteran of the Tour. Won the Dauphine last year and has had no major results in 2008 to speak of so he probably has been concentrating solely on the Tour. His tour performances are as follows. 4th in 2000, 8th 2003, 12th 2004, 11th 2005, 8th 2006. He has had good results in the Dauphine too. This guy knows how to ride the tour but I can't see him challenging for the win as he is 37 years of age and it's probably beyond him. May push for a podium with experience but doubtful. Ignore.

Prediction: 20th

16. Haimar Zubeldia

Team: Euskadel-Euskadi

Current Odds: $51/$12

Suddenly Euskadel is looking strong with Zubeldia and Sanchez - I expect both these riders to ride well and finish strongly. He is battling for leadership with Sanchez but this guy is class and has proven results in the tour. He has raced the tour 7 times so he is familar with the tour. 2001 he was 73rd, 2002 he was 39th, 2003 he was 5th, 2004 he didn't finish, 2005 he was 15th, 2006 he was 8th and 2007 he was 5th. He has also come 10th in the Veulta. He has done nothing of note in 2008 but his results in the Tour, particularly last year suggests he may go a long way to challenging. He is a possiblity to podium if things go his way. At these odds may be worth a small punt. Will finish top 10.

Prediction: 6th

17. Kim Kirchen

Team: Columbia (Former high road and T-Mobile)

Current Odds: $76/$23

No joke! They are his odds. Gerdemann isn't racing and Rogers is racing so this guy is team leader. Also take note that he has an allie in George Hincapie who helped Lance Armstrong and was impressive for Contador last year. So this guy has been involved in 8 wins in the last decade. Kirchen also has young swede Lovqvist aswell who is riding extremely well in Switzerland with Kirchen. He also has talented Belarus rider Siutsou who came 6th in the young riders classification last year. After Rogers crashed out last year, Kirchen took on leadership roles and finished 7th. His tour performances have been 63rd in 2004, abandoned in 2005 and last year 7th. He won stage 15 last year after Vinokourov's stage win was stripped. This year, Kirchen has ridden well and he is one of the form men who can challenge for Tour honours. He came first this year in La Fleche-Wallone and won last nights gruelling stage which finished on a cat 1 climb in the Tour of Switzerland over favourites such as the Schleck brothers and Cunego. He assumed the leaders jersey for 2 days then on an uphill TT lost it. However, his form is there and he will learn from holding a leaders jersey - something he hasn't done in a major race ever. He needs to learn from it because he will have yellow at some stage during the tour - hopefully at the end.
His goal is top 5 for the Tour but I think he can win. At a prime age of 29 with a good team. These odds are way over. Main threat. Don't discount.

Prediction: 3rd

18. Vladimir Karpets

Team: Caisse D'Espargne

Current Odds:Unknown

Will be riding for Valverde. However, this 27 year old Russian is talent. His tour performances have been 100th in 2003, 13th in 2004 and won the young rider jersey. He came 7th in the Veulta last year and won Switzerland last year. Hasn't done anything of note this year so if you back him, you back him blind. And considering he is second in line to Valverde, I honestly can't see him winning. He may podium but that's it. Watch

Prediction: 16th

19. Tom Danielson


Current Odds:Unknown

Tom Danielson comes to the Tour riding for Slipstream who in their first year was given an invite to race. He is a talented 30 year old American who has shown good performances in the Veulta. Again, he has knowledge on how a grand tour should be ridden. In 2005 he came 7th in the Veulta and in 2006 came 6th and won a stage. He also has won the Tour of Georgia and placed second there which also has some reasonable climbs. He is a chance to finish top 10. However I think he will just miss out on top 10 but he's a man to watch.

Prediction: 11th

20. Juan Jose Cobo

Team: Saulnier-Duval

Current Odds: Unknown.

Chances are he will be team leader as I don't think Ricco's heart is in it. He is targetting top 10. He is young and can climb. He came 20th in the Tour last year and missed out on a few stage wins. He can time trial too. Last year in the Vuelta al País Vasco he won the GC including 2 stages. He will surprise this year and finish top 10 but probably won't challenge for the podium. Look for him to win a stage or two. A rank outsider.

Prediction: 10th


1. Luis Leon Sanchez

Team: Caisse D'Espargne

Current Odds: Unknown.

A young spanish rider and will be helping Valverde. Watch him for stage wins. He won stage 7 of Paris-Nice this year in a good performance in which he broke away on the final climb and descended well for the Victory. Look for a similar outcome in the Tour. Could finish top 10 but may take a stage win or two. I rate this guy.

Prediction: 21st


Top 20 Predictions

1. Damiano Cunego
2. Alejandro Valverde
3. Kim Kirchen
4. Cadel Evans
5. Samuel Sanchez
6. Haimar Zubeldia

7. Andy Schleck
8. Stijn Devolder
9. Denis Menchov
10. Juan Jose Cobo
11. Tom Danielson
12. Carlos Sastre
13. Mauricio Soler
14. Frank Schleck
15. Thomas Dekker
16. Vladimir Karpets
17. Yaroslav Popovych
18. Ricardo Ricco
19. Oscar Perero
20. Chrisophe Moreau

The bold means that I think that will be the top 5/6 - what order, you decide!
Evans for my mind.

Cunego will have a bad day and his TTing is ****. Is the gheyest looking GT winner ever.
Valverde is questionable for a full 3 weeks and he has hit form too early IMO
Kirchen rode the worst TT in history in the Tour d'Suisse a couple of days ago and was one of the most invisible top 10 finishers of all time last year.
Sanchez will be rubbish in France without his usual vat of extra blood and gallon of EPO.
Zubeldia is 100 years old and will probably die of a heart attack before the race finishes.
I think Sanchez and Soler will be very well prepared for this Tour, and will do well. Neither will win, though.

I think that Sastre cannot win.

Tom Danielson will not top 20. Trent Lowe is their team leader for the Tour, surely.

Menchov, Evans, Valverde, will do well. The Cd'E team is insanely good - there are five people in that team that can top ten in the Tour, and three who can make the podium.

I think a lot of the difficulty will come from the fact that Evans is favourite, but his team will not want to control the race - so you have the chance for someone who is not seen as a fist-tier contender to win the race on a break again - someone like Soler, Sanchez, L-L Sanchez, or a Rabo rider who isn't Menchov. Rogers and Rasmussen tried it last year, and either might have pulled it off were it not for their respective misfortunes (remember that no-one thought Rasmussen was a contender until the first mountain stage, and no-one completely believed in him until stage 13. That's how Cunego won the 2004 Giro too.
classic1 said:
Kirchen rode the worst TT in history in the Tour d'Suisse a couple of days ago and was one of the most invisible top 10 finishers of all time last year.
Yeah, I don't know why these people are so optimistic about his performance in the TDF. Must be short on contenders, although he is an excellent rider.

Valverde "learnt" to TT, so I think he's going to be the man. I would like to see Sanchez mix it up with the big boys though.

It'll be interesting to see how Cunego is coming into this.
Euskaltel look good to me, they have 3 good cards to play as well as their breakaway man for the race which should be Txurruka. Zubeldia and Astarloza are both capable of top 10 finishes by themselves, so it will be interesting to see the form levels of Sanchez. If he is good, then he has invaluable support in those 2 guys, or if not then they can ride for themselves and get a good result... They must be a great chance of getting the team rankings....
I think we need to suspect that Tom Danielson's problems this season and last are part of an elaborate ruse to instill overconfidence in his rivals. No one will want to expend the energy to chase him when he slips off the front and makes good on a devastating solo bid for glory, gaining eight minutes in the process. Ask yourself this: Is TD's long list of illnesses and medical problems believable for an elite athlete? I think not. We've all been bamboozled, and Danielson will have the last laugh. Armstrong and Bruyneel will be there in Paris to congradualate the all conquering Great White Hope. I'm sure of it.
If it's a boring Tour where evenyone follows each other around then Evans wins because of his consistency.

Cunego's performance in the uphill TdS ITT was decent. I'm still betting on him. The odds are good.
Bro Deal said:
If it's a boring Tour where evenyone follows each other around then Evans wins because of his consistency.

Cunego's performance in the uphill TdS ITT was decent. I'm still betting on him. The odds are good.
It looks like Cunego knows what he's doing in sense of Tour preparation.
His form is already good and it seems he's saving himself a bit (that's my impression after TdS)... Like he has well worked out plan of hitting the peak form at the right time.
Or just my wishful thinking.

Anyway, there are lots of people who think the Tour isn't his race.

Evans should be the man to beat in this Tour. Menchov, Valverde, Cunego, Schleck(s), Zubeldia, Sanchez, Kirchen, Sastre are men who could do that.
I would have gone with Valverde, except that he looked too good in the DL which is not a good sign. Right now, I'm confused about who will win, but mostly I'm truly upset that Astana is not racing. To exclude last year's winner and also such good riders like Kloden means this years race will not represent the best in cycling, thus the winner will not represent the best.

I'll be cheering for Devolder - a racer not afraid to race both the GTs and the classics and also do it in style.
Bro Deal said:
If it's a boring Tour where evenyone follows each other around then Evans wins because of his consistency.

Cunego's performance in the uphill TdS ITT was decent. I'm still betting on him. The odds are good.
I think he geared back on that TT. Just a hunch. Maybe they wanted to test how he performed without a nitrous oxide top-up of blood. I know he has a ridiculous HCT number by nature... but there are a lot of other goodies in those Santa bags of plasma. Of course this is a very broad speculation.
Crankyfeet said:
I think he geared back on that TT. Just a hunch. Maybe they wanted to test how he performed without a nitrous oxide top-up of blood. I know he has a ridiculous HCT number by nature... but there are a lot of other goodies in those Santa bags of plasma. Of course this is a very broad speculation.

HBOCs don't increase HCT do they?

It's great being a cycling fan. I get to bone up on my molecular biology for free while following a bike race or two.
i like menchov's chances this year. he didn't damage himself in the giro chasing after a podium finish beyond his reach & he still has a strong team around him.
wouldn't mind seeing euska on the podium, either, but sticking with menchov.
I'm favouring Evan's & Menchov. I'll throw in Zubeldia as a dark horse.

I think everyone is over estimating Valverde's 'improved' TT.
He may have won the TT at the Dauphine but it was rainy day on a technical course where the winner was going to be determined by he who took the biggest risks.

from cyclingnews.
With his significant win, Valverde took charge of this year's event. "It was a very, very hard course," the Spaniard said. "Our directeur sportif Yvon Ledanois went to see it yesterday and described it as hard but when I saw it this morning, it appeared to be even harder. The rain made it slippery and very complicated."

Valverde was very focused but didn't expect to go so well. "I'm a little bit surprised, considering the quality of the riders I beat out," he commented. "The first 20 kilometers were an uphill time trial, which is my speciality. The downhill was very technical and it was more to my advantage that to a pure time triallist."
Trev_S said:
I'm favouring Evan's & Menchov. I'll throw in Zubeldia as a dark horse.

I think everyone is over estimating Valverde's 'improved' TT.
He may have won the TT at the Dauphine but it was rainy day on a technical course where the winner was going to be determined by he who took the biggest risks.

from cyclingnews.
Personally, I'm not favoring Valverde, but he must be considered as a top contender.
He is more mature, he improved his TTing (as mentioned), has the good team... And, at the end, I think he improved his supplemental program too... Less risk, more discrete... He learnt his lesson.

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