In 2012 OPQS won by 3 seconds from BMC,with Orica in 3rd at 47 seconds.
OPQS – Chavanel,Kwiatkowski,Martin,Terpstra,Vandewalle,Velits.
OPQS have made 1 change to their line-up with Michal Kwiatkowski replacing Tom Boonen.This actually improves their team.
My concern with their team is that Chavanel,Kwiatkowski,Terpstra and Velits have all been racing in Canada recently and the travelling will have not helped with their training.
BMC – Cummings,Oss,Phinney,Quinziato,Schar,Van Garderen.
BMC have made 3 changes from 2012 with Cummings,Oss and Schar replacing Pinotti,Gilbert and Ballan.I think this weakens their team and I don’t expect them to win.They only have 2 riders(Oss and Van Garderen) who were riding in Canada.
Orica – Impey,Durbridge,Tuft,Lancaster,Mouris,Hepburn.
Orica make 3 changes from 2012 with Impey,Lancaster and Hepburn replacing Bewley,Meyer and Langeveld.This makes their team stronger.
Crucially,they didn’t have any riders competing in Montreal or Quebec and have been able to have the best preparation possible.They pulled Bewley out of the Vuelta to come to the training camp but he is unwell and Hepburn rides instead.
All these riders live near Girona,so instead of having to go away to a camp they’ve trained near their homes,together,for 3 weeks.This puts them at a huge advantage compared to their opponents.
Other teams to watch for are Saxo,Sky,Garmin and Radioshack.
Sky – Froome,Porte,Boasson Hagen,Thomas,Kiryienka,Siutsou.
This is a strong team but for Sky to win the title I think they need Wiggins.They had Froome,Porte and Thomas riding in Canada.
No Wiggins for Sky means no win.
Garmin – Millar,Talansky,Vande Velde,Farrar,Dennis and Zabriskie.
Another fairly strong team but Garmin has lost their edge in this discipline.
Saxo have improved but not enough.
Radioshack are a bit of a 1 man team,but what a 1 man!I expect them to go top 5.
I think this will be a 2 way shoot-out between OPQS and Orica.
The 2012 route was very undulating,which went in the favour of OPQS.2013 is flatter and will help Orica to close the gap.
These teams will fight it out for top spot and remember Orica beat OPQS in the Tour de France TTT this year.
The others will be left in a battle for bronze and I think Sky will have enough to clinch it.
Orica have been installed as 4th favourite,at 8/1.These odds are far too long and I think they have a great chance of winning.
A real outsider for a top 3 would be Lotto.They have a team of big,strong riders and went very well at the Tour,finishing 6th in the TTT.They have odds of 150/1 for a top 3,so well worth a flutter.