Salvodelli wins. George and Levi in the top ten. George closer to tenth because he will have to ride in support of Salvo. Cadel could be a hope, but the probability of his collarbone spontaneously fracturing is astronomical.
I am going out on a limb and plugging Zabriske. Yes, I am ducking as I type this. I don't see any of the new favorites being explosive climbers so the time gains in the mountains are not going to be drastic. Zabriske may well be a better time trialist than Ulrich and he has 3 opportunities to gain quite possibly a lot of time. If CSC doesn't implode with the loss of Basso they have a team that can control the race. But, regardless of who wins I see this as being a great Tour. Anyone remember how good the Giro was the year Salvodelli first won? All the favorites removed early on and a great group of essentially default leaders putting on a great show. Let's hope the last week sees a new guy in Yellow everyday and a final sprint for the overall win on the Champs.
Now, I think we have to think about Floyd actually winning this thing, now. Before, he was podium at best I think. Anyway, he'll be in the running.
Another overlooked person, well, sometimes, is one Mr. Julich. He can climb, he can TT, his team leader is not riding now, and well, CSC as someone else mentioned, is a strong assed team who can still control the race. Also Julich has a history of doing well in dope plagued Tour de France's (1998 anyone??). Levi also just shot up the rankings, as did Cadel, Valverde, and a few others. I still don't think George is going to podium, he'll still lose some in the mountains, and on the TTs.
One thing is for sure, this is going to be the most exciting race in years. The big guns have all been sent home, or well, the biggest favorites, and now things are very wide open. I expect to see lots of attacking, lots of hard riding, and just seeing an old fashioned shoot out.
Levi has improved each year, and would have been 5th iffin it werent for crazy attacker Vino. Floyd was 9th? Take a look @ this years Dauphine' it was Levi trowing down the gaunlet, not Floyd. Valverde and some pretty good climbers were in that race. IMHO the Dauphine is a much tougher race than the tour de georgia, and covers much of the same routes in this years tour. Levi will be up against the same group of riders in the Tour as he was up against in the Dauphine, minus Basso, Ulle, Mancebo, etc. I don't buy into all the floyd hype. However, an american podium would be nice.
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