Still a week and a half away from Paris, could the race for all bar one classification already be over, Anthony Tan wonders from Tours.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:38 PM

Could it be that, with a week and a half to go in the centenary Tour de France, all but one classification is closed?

At the very least, second-placed overall, Alejandro Valverde of Movistar, contradicts himself, but seems resigned to preserving his place on the podium, which, should it eventuate, would be a first for him. "We're still fighting for the win, but we have to appreciate what we already have and try and conserve this place," the Spaniard said before Wednesday's time trial, where, unsurprisingly, he conceded a further two minutes to Christopher Froome, and now trails the maillot jaune by 3min 25sec.

Alberto Contador, Tour champion in 2007 and 2009, seems like the only guy willing to lose everything in return for the biggest prize of all.

Then again, that's what you'd expect from a previous Tour winner. For them, second place is first loser. Problem is, his Czech teammate at Saxo-Tinkoff, Roman Kreuziger, has so far matched, and, occasionally, outperformed Bertie. However, with a weakened Team Sky (Vasil Kiryienka missed the time-cut on Stage 9, exiting left out of Bagnères-de-Bigorre, while Edvald Boasson Hagen crashed on Stage 12, fracturing his scapula, and has had to abandon), a tag-team ambush could be the play that leaves Froome isolated once again, as the race heads inexorably towards the first of four stages in the Alps.

Nine stages from Paris, Peter Sagan leads the sprint classification by a cavernous 97-point margin from Mark Cavendish – more than two sprint wins' worth. With just two sprint stages remaining, the fleet of foot Slovak should have his second consecutive maillot vert just about wrapped up. That is, of course, predicated on Sagan avoiding incident, and setting his lead in stone on a few upcoming medium mountain stages that, out of the top four sprinters in this year's Tour, only he can get over in the front group.

Once again, it appears the winner of the polka-dot jersey will be worn by the one person who is really interested in it, rather than the best climber. Europcar's Pierre Rolland leads Froome by 16 points, and his Sky teammate Richie Porte and Movistar's Nairo Quintana by 21 and 33 points, respectively – but none of those who sit below the Frenchman are interested in le maillot à pois. Competition closed.

Best team? Well, with three guys in the top ten on GC – all who are likely to stay in the top ten on GC – you'd have to say Movistar has got the classement par equipes in the bag. Collectively, no team will perform better than them in the Alpine stages to come, so their advantage over Saxo-Tinkoff and Belkin will only widen as the parcours winds its way peripatetically (yes, this year's route is a crazy one!) to Paris.

All that remains is the classement du meilleur jeune, or young riders' category, which, thankfully, is not yet over. Better still, in Michał Kwiatkowski and Quintana, it's been hotly contested by two precocious 23-year-olds that are truly representative of a new cycling, and potential Grand Tour winners. As things stand, the Pole Kwiatkowski leads former maillot blanc Quintana by 34 seconds – but that could all change after Sunday's 242-kilometre epic to Ventoux, before altering again in the final week of the centenary Tour.