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Ok, here are my top five:

1. Iban Mayo -- why not? This guy has been ragged on the last two years, let's give him a shot. He's not too far down on GC so he should be motivated.

2. Alejandro Valverde -- should win the stage, but let's give poor Iban a chance.

3. Vino -- he won it last year. Might tomorrow be his Tour de France?

4. Piepoli -- won two Giro mountain stages, is he cooked for the Giant of Provence?

5. Landis -- play that ZZ Top on your ipod up the climb, Floyd, and snatch yellow to win your FOURTH stage race this year, bro!

Honorable mentions: Denny Menchov, Levi Leipheimer, Popovych.
 

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Former Roadbikereview Editor
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My vote is for Landis and Valverde. Levi and Piepoli should hopefully be in the top 5 too.

Mayo has little chance. But... nothing would please me more than to see him up front at the Ventoux. If he doesn't have a good showing at this year's Dauphne climbs, I'd say career over.

francois
 

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It really depends how deep the TDF hopefulls are willing to dig to win the Dauphine. Do you go for victory and hope you haven't burnt too many matches come July, after all it's a great victory to have on your Palmares, or do you reign it in and put all your eggs in the TDF basket.....tough call. I think Floyd could win it but does he want to?
 

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OnTheRivet said:
It really depends how deep the TDF hopefulls are willing to dig to win the Dauphine. Do you go for victory and hope you haven't burnt too many matches come July, after all it's a great victory to have on your Palmares, or do you reign it in and put all your eggs in the TDF basket.....tough call. I think Floyd could win it but does he want to?
This whole notion of burning too many matches has gotten a little out of hand. Its 1 stage, how the bloody hell are you supposed to train for the Tour de France without hard mountain efforts? Go for it I say!
 

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Vino....no. I don't expect Vino to go for it. I think he is there for some training and to check everyone out. Last year he was looking for a new team. This year he's putting it all for nothing on the TDF.

Valverde...Just maybe...to gain some time on the GC.

Popo.....He's got something to prove. If he doesn't think so I am disappointed in him.

Peipoli...OMG...he could blow it away. I didn't see him on roster till someone mentioned it.

Landis...is going to hold out. I think he held back some on the TT. It looked like he was trying to just make the checkpoints with a slight lead and prob held back and will do the same on Thurs. He might hang around with Levi for some Thurs Lactic training.

Levi...He knows he is not in the top 3 at TDF so he could go for it.

Mancebo, Sevilla...honorable mentions.

Overall...I would be suprised that any TDF GC hopeful would burn it to try for a win on the "giant".
 

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OnTheRivet said:
It really depends how deep the TDF hopefulls are willing to dig to win the Dauphine. Do you go for victory and hope you haven't burnt too many matches come July, after all it's a great victory to have on your Palmares, or do you reign it in and put all your eggs in the TDF basket.....tough call. I think Floyd could win it but does he want to?
I believe the contenders tomorrow will all be trying equally hard. None of them are big names like Armstrong or Ullrich. Lance had a training pattern that won him previous TDFs. He had a TDF streak to protect and sacrificed all to minize risk in the TDF.

All these upstarts are wanting to test their bodies and see how it will perform. Also, wins and glory count for these guys equally high I'd say.

francois
 

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Tough call. I really can't get a feeling on it. I think Landis will be close enough to snatch the Yellow (or to make it real close), however I don't see him winning the stage.

I hate to be a homer, but how about Chris Horner? He's gotta be hungry to prove himself, and he can climb pretty well. Maybe he gets in an early break away and does enough to survive ahead of a group containing the likely names Valverde, Landis, Piepoli, ...
 

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1. Valverde (I believe in the kid!)
2. Landis (watch out for sunglasses!)
3. Popo (very quiet, but strong)
4. Vino (attack, attack, attack!)
5. Mancebo (hutchback strikes again!)
6. Menchov (another youngster to watch)
7. Azevedo (Go Portugal!)
 

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giovanni sartori said:
This whole notion of burning too many matches has gotten a little out of hand. Its 1 stage, how the bloody hell are you supposed to train for the Tour de France without hard mountain efforts? Go for it I say!
It's one stage today, but if he's in yellow he'll probably decide to defend, have you seen the three following stages, brutal. Defending the jersey on stages like that could pose a problem later on. Armstrong even commented on it in 2003.
 
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