Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España, Tour Down Under and more
Early days yet though the 2012 professional cycling season has started and the Tour de France is viewed by many as the highlight of the year.
With the new Aussie team, Team GreenEDGE, will 2012 see the most Australian's ever riding the TDF?
The 2012 course is out: www.letour.fr
So lets look at some of the riders:
Contador - a verdict is apparantly due out this month in the farce surrounding the doping case. Lets say he leaves out the Giro d'Italia, does he have a chance?
Schleck Brothers - Can Andy learn to do a better Time Trial in one year?
Voeckler - Was 2011 a coming of age with 2012 the natural progression to an overall win, a French win?
Cadel has pros and cons - the respect and fear (by other riders) of someone who can actually win, but also the intense 'marking of the man' that has been seen before where his opponents know he is dangerous and seek to persistantly counter each move and narrow any advantage. This is where his team has to work hard.
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Difficult to pick I reckon.
Contador has to be a very good chance if he gets off. When he takes off up a hill it is magical, then again maybe too magical
Andy Schleck suffers from not being an all rounder - he is weak on time trials and descending. The race is so close you can't afford any weaknesses. Mind you, anyone who comes second clearly has the ability to win, but he does need to lose less time on the time trials.
Cadel certainly could do it again. He needs to do what he did this year and concentrate on his own strengths. He needs to grind them down up the hills rather than exploding like Contador does.
Can't see Voeckler being a serious contender.
Who was that young French guy who won a mountain stage last year? He looked very good but maybe too young as yet.
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This years course favours the all rounder even more so than last year, especially with two ITT. I can't see Frandy as serious contenders. If Contador rides, I believe Contador will win it, especially if he skips the Giro. Cadel for second and possibly Wiggins for third. I believe if Sky had ridden for Froome at last years Vuelta instead of Wiggins, then Froome would have won it. So Froome is my dark horse if he continues his rapid improvement (and rides the Tour) and Sky race for the best rider on the day and not for Wiggins only.
As for GreenEdge, they'll provide a nice lead out train for Cavendish at the sprint finishes.
I can't remember. But I am always on the lookout for AmaÃ«l Moinard. He's always under the radar (except that BMC was clearly impressed). He came 15th in the TdF a few years ago, is the same age as Contador and did one of the most amazing solo breakaways I've seen (stage 11, 2008, climbing and descending like a freak - was just run down at the end). Won a stage of Paris-Nice last year.
pierre rolland, he won the alpe d'huez stage i think it was.
such a great stage that.
and the white jersey.
can't wait for the TDF this year!
If contador is racing and doesn't do the giro, i'd back him, though I think with the route they have put together Cadel has a real shot at it too.
The schlecks will suffer because of the extra time trial kms.
All in all, i think it's wide open, which can only be a good thing
Does anyone think Wiggins has a good chance of winning? Sky will be sending a pretty impressive squad (admittedly to also support Cav) but Wiggins is a proven all rounder.
With the extent of TT in year I'm putting my money on him.
I think he'll get shafted as sky, despite all their "we'll support both" talk, will end up going for stage wins for cav and then are too spent to support him in the mountains.
or they'll head into the tour with goal of getting cav the green jersey and wiggins the yellow and by trying to achieve too much they will fail in both.
and possibly boasson hagen will be wanting to improve on last year's results, so that could be another drain on the team's resources.
Perhaps you are right (although I hope not). I guess the problem is that Cav is a much greater certainty for the green jersey / stage wins than Wiggins for yellow. I suspect that the strategy will be decided as the race unfolds - i.e. if Wiggins gets through the first week well and is looking strong after 1 or 2 mountain stages then he'll get support from the team. If not then they'll all work for Cav.
Cadel and El pistolero (assuming he rides, hope he doesnt ) have to be the early favourites for mine. With Cav in rainbow and just being Cav in general, Sky will have to support him, and I don't think they can do that and put Wiggo on the top step. I think Cav will have a lot more to compete against this year with Renshaw, Gossy and Greipel all going up against him as well as the usual suspects and this will drain Sky even further. Looking forward to seeing Rolland improve even further but still think he is a little way off. Nothing short of a miracle will help Frandy on this course. There was some suggestion that one or the other would target the Giro, but the official line seems to be that Fuglsang is the man for the Giro. Menchov for a possible dark horse, but unlikely I think.
One I was looking forward to seeing this year was Tony Martin. Not suggesting he could have taken it out but with the large amount of time trialling in this years course I honestly believe he could do top 10. Apparently he is only focusing on the two TT stages though as his ultimate goal for the year is the Olympics TT
If Sky are smart, they'll realise that they don't need to support Cav at all. All they have to do is tell Cav to tack on to the back end of the GreenEdge train. But then again, after this weeks early stages of the TDU, that may not be such a good idea. So plan B for Sky, tell Cav to tack on to the back of the Lotto Belisol train. I'm sure Greipel will love being the lead out man for Cav.
Sky will ride for Cav... then if Wiggo is in great form...well we will see.
Wiggo wasn't the strongest rider at Sky last TDF after all. Cav won't have an 8 man Skytrain if Wiggo is in form...if he isn't then Cav will have a very fast train .
Hoping to be at every stage this year...fingers crossed. Whether I get to actually see much of it is another matter.
Team Sky 2012
Davide Appollonio (Ita)
Michael Barry (Can)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor)
Mark Cavendish (GBr) - from HTC Highroad
Alex Dowsett (GBr)
Bernhard Eisel (Aut) - from HTC Highroad
Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa)
Chris Froome (GBr)
Mathew Hayman (Aus)
Sergio Henao (Col) - from Gobernacion de Antioquia
Jeremy Hunt (GBr)
Peter Kennaugh (GBr)
Christian Knees (Ger)
Thomas Lofkvist (Swe)
Lars-Petter Nordhaug (Nor)
Danny Pate (USA) - from HTC Highroad
Richie Porte (Aus) - from Saxo Bank-SunGard
Salvatore Puccio (Ita) - from Menfi-AG
Michael Rogers (Aus)
Luke Rowe (GBr) - from GB Academy
Kanstanstin Siutsou (Blr) - from HTC Highroad
Ian Stannard (GBr)
Chris Sutton (Aus)
Ben Swift (GBr)
Geraint Thomas (GBr)
Rigoberto Uran (Col)
Bradley Wiggins (GBr)
Xabier Zandio (Spa)
Lotto Belisol 2012
Lars Ytting Bak
Bart De Clercq
Francis De Greef
Vicente Reynes Mimo
Jurgen Van De Walle
Jurgen Van Den Broeck
Joost van Leijen
I don't know alot of the riders, but there are more names I recognise on Sky. You are right TL Cav will have a strong lead out train.
Hopefully Bak, Hendersen and Hansen can keep them honest in the last km though.
Hope I can get holidays again like I did last year, it was awesome. Not as good as being there though you lucky bugger.
I can't help thinking that Cav and Wiggins will be distracted by the Olympics being on home soil just a few weeks after the tour and that will affect their performances.
Cadel didn't put a foot wrong this year, avoided all the crashes and kept fit. It would be hard to do that two years running.
I reckon Andy Schleck can do it as long as Contador isn't there, how that farce will pan out is anyone's guess.
Scott CR1, Kuota Kharma
Are your serious? With two individual time trials in this years tour, the Schlecks will need to build massive time gains in the mountains.
No way, not with this that much ITT. Cadel put about 2 and a half minutes into Andy over a 42km course. What's the amount if ITT in the 2012 TDF? I thought it was about 80km. I don't think the Andy Schleck can gain that much of a lead in the mountains. Especially with other GC contenders who can time trial (i.e. Wiggins)
Impressive start to the season, although I thought they were given a nice dose of luck given some of the other team tactics on the final 2 days of racing.
I've been trying to figure out what sort of leadout they will put together for Gossy.
And there are only 3 mountain top stages
The route is perfect for Cadel and Wiggo.
Dont forget the Schlecks had to get Fabian to drag them around the course in the prologue TTT - they wont have his help this year
ITT for 2012:
prologue - 6.1 km
Stage 9 - 38km
Stage 19 - 52km
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