Predictions for the 2010 Tour de France

July 2, 2010

You realize that since 1998 I have been making predictions about this race. I spent the 1998 Tour de France in Ireland and have seen subsequent Tours de France in person in 2004, 2005 and 2007. In 2009, I went through Paris, but at the wrong season – so my plan is to get back over there next year for the 2011 Tour and then again for the 100th Tour in 2013 (if that’s right…I think it is).

But what about 2010? What about the riders? What about Contador and Lance and Levi and Cadel and Andy and others? Let me tell you my top five riders in the Tour and then I’ll pick the podium. Feel free to share your picks as well.

Top Five Tour de France riders for 2010

Alberto Contador – Team Astana
He’s no longer sharing the spotlight and his new team is focused on Alberto as a leader. He is in great form and is still hungry and young.

Andy Schleck – Team Saxo Bank
Podium last year. He should be there again this year. There are questions about his team’s strength, but he’s gotten better in the time trial and now is poised to give Alberto – or anyone – a run for their money.

Lance Armstrong – Team Radio Shack
He’s focused on the cancer message more than ever. He’s created a team around him with an American brand. He’s raced a lot this year and has skyrocketed in the standings at each successive race. He’s peaking at the right time and all the controversy will serve to light a monstrous fire inside his 38-year-old body. Everyone says it might not be enough to be angry and tactical and focused. They wonder if his body – 11 years older than Alberto’s – will hold up. I think it will and that’s why he’s on this list.

Cadel Evans – Team BMC Racing
I like this guy. He’s a mountain biker turned pro roadie. He’s good. Really good. AND he has my favorite rider on his team. No longer is big George Hincapie working with Lance, but with Cadel I think George could prove to be the wild card in the race. Cadel is talented and skilled. George is brilliant and driven. This could be the year that George delivers another teammate to a yellow jersey on the Champs-Elysees.

Ivan Basso – Team Liquigas
He last rode in the Tour two years ago when he finished 2nd. If he’s stayed on form, he could win it all. All the sporting minds say he may be peaking at just the right time and has the confidence borne of a Giro win under his belt. I’m not certain, but if I were riding the race I would definitely watch for him in every stage.

OK – there’s a group of guys. Here’s my podium…

3rd – Cadel Evans

2nd – Andy Schleck

1st – Lance Armstrong