This year looks like being a stellar year for the Tour.It’s a mountainous course to celebrate the 100th edition and all the main riders are here,apart from Vicenzo Nibali.Froome is the strong favourite,but as I’ve already explained(see previous post),I don’t think he’ll win.I’m going to choose Alberto Contador as the winner.His track recored in grand tours is 2nd to none.He has raced 8,won 7 and finished 5th in another.He is an old fashioned rider that likes to peak for the tour,so I’m not worried that he hasn’t beaten Froome yet this season.I think Froome will have enough to finish 2nd and the extremely talented Alejandro Valverde will finish 3rd.The Spaniard has looked back to his best this season,finishing 2nd in Amstel and 3rd in Leige.Most don’t agree with me about him but I do think he will run Froome and Contador very close.
The rest of the top 10 is extremely hard to call.So many talented riders that can do amazing things on the bike.My pick for 4th place is Pierre Rolland(see previous post).I have Jurgen Van Den Broeck finishing 5th.He finished 4th in the 2010 and 2012 tours and think another high placing is assured for the Belgian.He is another that carefully manages his season around the tour,so form is irrelevant.My choice for 6th place has changed in the last couple of days.I originally had Pinot there but now think that this tour will be Cadel Evan’s last big go and he will claw his way into 6th.He did look very good at the Giro.
The surprise package of the 2012 tour Pinot should manage to improve on last year with the decrease in time-trials,he’ll finish 7th.My surprise package for the 2013 tour will be Daniel Navarro.A loyal servant of Alberto Contador’s for many years now has a chance to shine,riding for Cofidis.He performed extremely well at the Dauphine and I think he will be the one to watch.
The new Colombian wonder kid,Nairo Quintana,will finish 9th.This might surprise people but I think he is here for Valverde and with this being his 1st tour,I think making the top 10 will be good enough for him.There are so many riders who could make the final spot.After a strong ride last year where he finished 9th,I think Janez Brajkovic should have enough for the top 10.I’m slightly concerned as Fuglsang has been made Astana leader but after he has a bad day Brajkovic should be their man.
The most glaring omission from my top 10 is Rodriguez.I am a massive fan of the Spaniard but just don’t think it will happen for him this year.I have been concerned with his form this season,especially in the Volta a Catalunya.He was sitting 2nd and the final day was well suited to him but he didn’t have the legs to challenge Dan Martin.I think this was a sign that he might not be at the same level as in previous years.The 2013 Vuelta course is perfect for him,so if he has a bad day I think he would sit back and wait for that,this would free Daniel Moreno,who could threaten the top 10.
Riders to miss out are Fuglsang,Mollema,Hesjedal,Talansky,Schleck,Van Garderen and Zubeldia.
My top ten is 1.Contador 2.Froome. 3.Valverde 4.Rolland 5.Van den Broeck 6.Evans 7.Pinot 8.Navarro 9.Quintana 10.Brajkovic