My esteemed colleague, Mike Tomalaris, blogged about a wish list in his
most recent column on Cycling Central, to which many of you replied
I, however, have never been much of a wisher. Wishing leads to wishful thinking, I say.
I was a kid, the few things wished for I never received (of course,
that was until I got a job), which turned me into a
pessimist-cum-realist-cum-at times cynical sports writer (after the
litany of doping scandals the past decade, how could I not?), so here's
what I think will happen in some of cycling's main events in the first
half of 2010.
I'll get back to you in the next fortnight to give you my predictions post the Giro d'Italia.
Aussie nationals Ã¢â¬â men's road race, Jan 10
Will Michael Rogers and Adam Hansen make the same mistake
again in the sleepy hollow of Buninyong, and let an outsider like
defending champ Peter McDonald steal line honours? I can't see that
I reckon 2010 is Mick's year for donning the
green and gold jersey of Aussie national road champion. And I'll throw
in an equal outside bet to Wes Sulzberger, Robbie McEwen (after what
he's been through, wouldn't it be great if he did the triple?), and
Tour Down Under, Jan 19-24
Since this event was bestowed ProTour status and the world's
best teams descended on our shores, the past two editions of this race
have been won by sprinters who can climb the 3km, 7.6% brute that is
Old Willunga Hill Ã¢â¬â which is now tackled twice.
Greipel not crashed out, he may well have won again in 2009, evidenced
by his convincing opening stage victory in Mawson Lakes. By the end of
the season, he was second only to his team-mate Mark Cavendish in
He is beatable, though: those with a real chance include the likes of
Thor Hushovd and Alessandro Petacchi Ã¢â¬â but those guys won't be here in
So unless this imposing German unit crashes out
again, or a break goes and decides the final podium (unlikely), I fear
Robbie, Alby and Brownie et al. will be fighting for the minor places.
Milano-Sanremo, Mar 20
This year in 'La Primavera', he proved the pundits
completely wrong, who believed at 23 years of age, Mark Cavendish's
legs lacked the distance for a 300km Classic. In 2010, Milano-Sanremo
will be his to lose.
It will be interesting to see how Cav'
fares without the aid of George Hincapie, who last time round, dragged
him to the front in the final kilometres and dropped him off within
striking distance of the line.
Such is his dominance in a
field sprint, the only way to beat Cavendish will be to drop him on the
final climb of the Poggio, or if you're name's Fabian Cancellara, go
for a final kilometre burst and catch the Manx Missile and his team
Paris-Roubaix, Apr 11
His indiscretions with the white stuff aside, Tom Boonen is quickly becoming a byword for success at 'The Hell of the North'.
a hand to a glove, his body is perfectly made for the interminable
cobbles riders must face, rattle and roll over if they are to win what
is unquestionably the toughest one-day race in the world, and 'Tornado
Tom' showed enough end-of-season form in 2009 to indicate he'll have
his head screwed back on for the Spring Classics of 2010.
'Tommeke' not perform on the day, Cancellara, Stuart O'Grady,
Alessandro Ballan, Heinrich Haussler (who's my pick to win Flanders)
and Stijn Devolder all have about the same chance to win.
A solid outside bet would be Martijn Maaskant.
Giro d'Italia, May 8-30
I find it's much harder to pick a winner at the Giro than the Tour de France.
quite often a more open race because not every rider goes into the
event hoping to reach 100 percent form by the second to final week. And
then they're always a bunch of idiots (often Italian) who still think
it's okay to tackle themselves to the eyeballs, get caught, deny having
taken anything untoward, later change their minds and admit their sins,
and rejoin the peloton 18-24 months later, largely unrepentant.
Like the 2010 Tour, next year's Giro is not time trial heavy Ã¢â¬â just 69.1 kilometres in total Ã¢â¬â but unlike
the TdF TTs, the Giro's battles against the clock include a 32.5km team
time trial as well as a 12.9km mountain time trial to the infamous Plan
Armed with a stronger team and confidence
renewed following his world championship victory (not to mention a
Vuelta win if not for a botched wheel change), I reckon this Giro
course has Cadel Evans' name written all over it.
Many of his Grand Tour rivals will be gunning for the Tour Ã¢â¬â think
Contador, Armstrong, the Schlecks, Wiggins and Vande Velde Ã¢â¬â so why not
put your eggs in the Italian basket?
However, it's not as if
the Giro will be without contenders Ã¢â¬â I have no doubt 2008 Tour champ
Carlos Sastre and '06 Giro winner Ivan Basso will be two of Evans'
Disclaimer: No responsibility
accepted for money lost on wagers based on my predictions. Still,
throwing a fiver to win won't see your home repossessed anytime soon.