Following on from my previous post, I continue with my 2010 race
predictions, where, once again, no responsibility is accepted for any
miscalculations. For any I get right, I'll take the praise with open
Tour de France, Jul 3-25
After what we witnessed in 2009 en France, one may be forgiven for saying: 'If your name's not Alberto Contador, you might as well go home.'
last year's Tour, Contador truly proved his resilience, physical and
mental, and having turned just 27 a month ago, there's plenty more
where that came from.
As I mentioned in a recent edition of
Bike Shorts, Andy Schleck, who many believe to be his closest nemesis,
must improve markedly in the race against the clock if he's to have any
chance of beating Contador in years to come.
Schleck's losing margin of 4:11 to Contador at the 2009 TdF came mostly
as a result of his inability to match the Spaniard in time trials.
That's why I believe Lance Armstrong still stands a chance of winning the 2010 Tour.
Contador, the Texan is a complete rider. Unlike Contador, he's a
natural-born leader who can rally the troops like few others Ã¢â¬â so much
so that they'll virtually fall on their swords to please him, and maim
plenty others in the process.
Armstrong's age has little to
do with the win/lose equation: the fact that he finished on the podium
after a three-and-a-half-year layoff is, in my opinion, worthy of a
Tour win in itself.
Bradley Wiggins and Christian Vande
Velde can be viewed as intriguing wildcards, who may benefit from the
rivalry between Contador and Armstrong.
But first they must prove they're not one-hit wonders (which
historically speaking, the Tour is infamous for) and do what they can
to place themselves in contention once again.
As for Cadel
Evans, we can only hope his 2009 performance was an anomaly. But as I
wrote in my last column, the Giro d'Italia is a ripe picking for Evans.
Vuelta a EspaÃ±a, Aug 28 Ã¢â¬â Sep 19
Virtually every expert has said that in order to do well at this year's world road championships in Oz, one must ride the Vuelta a EspaÃ±a.
don't have to ride all of it Ã¢â¬â heck, they don't even have to win a
stage, although it'd be a great confidence booster Ã¢â¬â but to ride at
least two weeks of the year's final Grand Tour would provide the
necessary foundation for the Melbourne world's, be it the time trial or
So in theory, the 2010 Vuelta should boast a
star-studded cast. Apart from those aiming for the handful of rainbow
jerseys on offer a fortnight later, there will be those who:
* Will need to perform simply to be part of the national team for the world's
Have experienced a lacklustre season to date through injury or poor
form, and need a big result in order to secure a new contract or
maintain their position on the team
* Simply revel in beating
the Spaniards Ã¢â¬â who at the Vuelta, tend to collude against foreigners
beating them, despite being on different teams Ã¢â¬â in their own backyard
I fear it could be another Spaniard on the winner's list, in the form
of last year's runner-up and reigning Olympic champion, Samuel SÃ¡nchez.
Of course, it depends on how he fares and how deep he goes at the Tour
de France, but at 31, Sammy SÃ¡nchez is something of a late-bloomer in
the sport, who could well have the best years ahead of him.
World road championships, Sep 29 Ã¢â¬â Oct 3
last year's Herald Sun Tour, reconnoitring the final circuit of this
year's road world's in Geelong with course designer John Trevorrow, I,
like many others, had the words 'a sprinter will win' firmly implanted
But upon seeing the 15.9 kilometre course and its
two climbs per lap in the flesh, I began to have a bit of a rethink:
how would these two pinches totalling little more than 1.5km feel after
11 laps, and which sprinters Ã¢â¬â if any Ã¢â¬â would be left?
told me he earlier escorted our reigning world champ around the same
block, who also began to question what he initially believed to be a
foregone conclusion. It was enough to change Evans' tone of thinking,
We now know one of the favourites, Mark Cavendish,
possesses the physical maturity to cope with the Cipressa and Poggio in
a race like Milano-Sanremo.
But the cumulative hardship offered by this course is far harder than
that Ã¢â¬â and quite possibly, a little too hard for Cav', Robbie McEwen
and Tom Boonen.
Granted, it is by no means harder than the
2009 world's in Mendrisio Ã¢â¬â that was akin to an Alpine feast at the
Tour Ã¢â¬â but depending on how it's raced, the Geelong circuit could
produce a surprise world champion.
It's perhaps premature to
speculate since we don't know how their form will be, but I like the
chances of Simon Gerrans, Andre Greipel, Philippe Gilbert and Alejandro
I also understand why Heinrich Haussler was so keen to change the nationality on his racing licence before the year began.
He wants that once-in-a-lifetime win on what he considers home soil Ã¢â¬â but first the UCI must heed to his initial request.