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Tour chat: How bad are my predictions?

July 21, 2014

After 14 of 21 stages the Tour has crossed England, northern France, the Vosges and the Alps. Crashes dominated the headlines for the first few days. Since then, the hard climbs have seen quite a few favourites crack and disappear from the leaderboard.

My predictions look pretty dreadful now. Why?

My podium (Froome, Contador & Frank) are all out with broken limbs. Talansky is also out following a crash.

Rui Costa has lost time on most of the harder climbs, possibly due to illness. Now 13th and almost 13 minutes back. If he can recover and shake off the bugs, then he has a good chance of top 10. If he wants to, he can gain a lot of time in the long time trial.

Nibali has been the star of the race and looks in great shape to complete his grand slam of the big tours. His team has also been superb and looks committed to the Italian winning. Surely only crashes or illness will rob him now. However, there are many miles to race and disaster may be just around the corner. He will keep his wits and stay upright.

Valverde is in a podium place at the moment but has plenty of competition. Looked tired in the last stage, will he recover or continue to fade? Good time trialler so might gain time on the climbers late in the race. Not convinced the team is completely behind him.

Rodriguez sat at the back of the bunch and could not keep up. Perhaps that was intentional, as he now has freedom to win a stage. He looks very interested in the mountains competition and could well win that.

Mollema is hanging in there, but only just. He lies 7th over 8 minutes back. I doubt he will be closer to Nibali at the finish. He is also sorely lacking team support. Is that because they lack confidence in him, or are they looking for a new job if the team folds due to lack of sponsors?

Tejay van Garderen is doing well and attacking when he can. He also has good support from his strong team. Looking good for top five at the moment, but the steeper Pyrenees will be harder for him than the purer climbers.
Van den Broeck Struggling and already out of the top ten.

Schlecks Andy was out early but Frank is doing okay. Up to 14th on GC and might get into the top ten. Until the time trial and then he will lose at least 5 minutes.

Bardet & Pinot are having a superb race and competing hard for the podium. They have a great chance to gain time in the remaining mountain stages. Not sure about their ITT ability, so they might drop back a bit. Hopefully they can secure podium places well before that stage.

Who did I miss? Peraud is in the top ten and might stay there, especially if he continues riding for himself instead of his teammate. I also mentioned Konig in my predictions but thought he would be aiming for stages instead of GC, he lies eighth and should do well in the remaining mountains. Ten Dam is top ten at the moment but likely to fade at some point. Rolland pops in and out of the leaderboard, will probably pop out again soon enough. Zubeldia will probably manage yet another forgettable top ten finish. Plan B Porte might still finish top ten (so might Thomas or Nieve) but Sky is now gunning for stage wins


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