A quick look at the TdF careers of the 2011 Leopard-Trek Tour de France squad.
|RIDER||Role||TDFs Ridden||Stages Won||Days in Yellow||Overall Wins||Overall Podiums||Pts comp. wins||KOMs comp. wins||Nat.|
Wow, from a pure standpoint of palmares at the Tour, Leopard-Trek appears to be the strongest team on paper. There has been a lot of talk about Garmin-Cervelo and RadioShack bringing strong, experienced teams, but just looking at the bottom row of this matrix compared to theirs says a lot too. Granted, individual stage wins and days in yellow aren't going to put Andy on the top step in Paris, but it's a team of winners with a massive combined pool of experience. If Frank and Andy can only do to Alberto what they failed to do to Gilbert–really work him over with alternating punches. Even if he stays with them, he should be more tired the next day than they, and Contador's potential fatigue after racing hard in the spring is probably the thing to pinpoint.
Absolutely. I'll generate a summary table shortly that shows all of the teams – the difference between Leopard-Trek and the rest is pretty staggering.
When two guys in your team have ridden 27 tours between them, it's hard not to appear the strongest on paper. I think Thor Hushovd is next closest with 10 TDFs from what I've looked at. Leopard-Trek have all more than enough diesel stored in O'Grady, Voigt and Cancellara to get him there, but it just comes down to whether Andy Schleck has enough jet fuel in those legs to fly past Contador.
Leopard-Trek also has the most stage wins, the most days spent in yellow, and is the only team to boast that every rider on it has ridden at least one tour. It's an extremely compelling argument that they're a far more experienced team than it feels like. Take a look at a team like BMC, who has the single most experienced rider in Hincapie (15). They've ridden 18 fewer Tours between them, but the perception among many is they're a more experienced team. Perhaps thats due to the lack of an experienced manager in the team car like a Riis?
Could also be the terrible scarves, ridiculous press conferences, and the fact that the Schlecks look like they're 12.