Tour de France 2009
After 25 days after my last post on the blog I feel the need to say: "What crisis?".
Team Saxo Bank has won stages and the won overall in both Luxemburg Tour and the Tour de Schwizz with Frank Schleck in Luxembourg and Fabian Cancellara in the Tour de Switzz. Very nice job. Although the peloton of Luxembourg was not too strong and in Switzerland the route was in a lighter version than usual. I do not believe that any other Team could have changed the results in the two Stage Races though.
It was cool to see especially Cancellara looking sharp as a razor again. I did writte that it would happen in the last blog post ..... but it was not so difficult to guess.
Don't worry of the Schleck brothers were not looking sharp in the Tour of Switzerland. Chris Anker Sørensen (SAX) had talked a little too much in an interview and said that he had been on the wheel of Andy Schleck in a severe climb and he could barely hold his wheel!
Well, Andy boy will be ready when it comes to the Tour de France 2009, believe me. He will, however, have a difficult time to beat Contador, but the race will be exciting to see on the tv.
Carlos has again shown in the Giro d 'Italia that his abilities as a climber is absolutely world class. He can with a little bit of luck and nice tactics get into top 3 I think. We will see whether he is fully revovered after a hard Giro.
The same goes for Denis Menchov who won the Giro as we know. He is also a candidate to reach top 3. He is solid in Time Trials and is toxic on the climbs and will prove his worth.
I mention Cadel Evans this late for the simple reason that I do not believe in him as a possible top 3! He has prepared 100 % for the Tour de France 2009 but the lack of a strong team in a season of the Tour which includes a Team Time Trial and his declining performance after 14 days of hard Stage Race, he falls outside the top 3 but keeps probably in top 5.
Levi Leipheimer and Christian Vande Velde is in the same category. Leipheimer because he with no doubt will work for Alberto Contador, and therefore must collect lost time in the mountains on that account. As usual, he will show his class in the Time Trials. Vande Velde have had a bad crash in the Giro and is a big question mark. He was flying at the Tour de France 2008, but I think there are even more from his side to see. Time will tell if he is ready for the Tour de France 2009.
Lance, who said Lance Armstrong? Yes, he must be mentioned as he has won the tdf 7 times, but he is not in the top 5 in my mind. He can get into top 10 on the basis of reasonable skilsl in both the mountains and in Time Trials, but he has become older and are not quite as sharp as in "the old days". However we will certainly see him in the lead of the minimiced pack at the front on montainstages since he must work for Contador and he can be played tacticaly on a few key mountain stages where neither Team Saxo Bank or other favorite teams can afford to give him too much gap.
A new comet, I believe we will see in the top 10 at the tour in 2009 in the shape of Tony Martin from Team Columbia. He drove more than strong in the mountains in Switzerland Tour, and also proved to be formiddable abilities in a Time Trial. Exciting to follow this "new" riders.