Discuss: Are the GC cards on the table?

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Fotoreporter Sirotti

With two big mountain stages (18 and 19) and a 42.5km individual time trial all that remains to determine the General Classification of this year’s Tour de France, have we seen all we need to in order to speculate about the composition of the final podium?

  • Thomas Voeckler, though gritty, may be showing signs of faltering
  • Alberto Contador’s uphill attacks are getting stronger, but are still ineffective
  • Cadel Evans has been climbing very strongly, and among the GC contenders, is best-suited to make considerable gains in the Grenoble Time Trial.
  • The Schlecks are unable to distance Contador or gain time on Evans.

If these hold true, some key questions arise:

  • Where will Alberto Contador gain the 1:57 he needs to overtake Cadel Evans?
  • Will Andy Schleck, 1:14 behind his brother, work for Frank, who is only 1:22 behind Voeckler and :04 behind Evans?
  • Will either Schleck be able to gain the minutes they will need to overtake Evans and hold off Evans and Contador in the Grenoble Time Trial?

Which, finally, leads to one final question: What will the final podium be, given where everyone stands today?

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5 Responses to Discuss: Are the GC cards on the table?

  1. Jeff says:

    For me, Evans and Contador are the clear 1-2 in this race. I'd be interested if Frandy (to borrow a phrase) will actually make the moves they need to make to win – unlike what they did as a pair at LBL. I've yet to see that they're as savvy as they are talented. Their 1-2 punch last weekend gave me an idea that they might have it.
    All that said, Evans really is in the driver's seat here. He can race defensively for the next couple days – and even lose some time – and force Frank to ride the TT of his life – which still may not be enough against a very talented TT'ist.
    Contador, were he upright through the first week, would be the man to beat. I just think he's strong enough in the TT to pull himself into second even if he doesn't take much time over the next two days.

  2. BETH says:

    Even this late in the race, crashes and missteps are still part of the story. A crash or two will upset all of our predictions, and I won't relax until they are all on their way into Paris and all in one piece. IF nothing like that happens, and IF there is good weather and dry roads in the mountains, IF IF IF. In the next two stages alone we could see time swings as high as 7 or 8 minutes, if somebody has a bad day. Even if no one has a bad day we can see time swings half that. Plenty of time to rearrange the leaderboard, and I wouldn't want to call it at all. And to think that three weeks ago I was dreading this edition of the tour because I thought it was just going to be a long boring march to a coration for Contador.

  3. Doug MacDonald says:

    I think I see Evans on top, with Voeckler 2nd & Contador 3rd. That basically lets Voeckler lose a minute per day, and finish with Frank 2 out of those 3 days.

    Of course, the gaps could be much larger the next 2 days. The race is still fundamentally wide open. I think that Contador needs 30 seconds on Cadel headed into the TT, and that Voeckler, the Schlecks & Sanchez probably need 90 seconds on Cadel & 60 on Alberto.

    Can anybody give any information about Voeckler in a meaningful TT against these guys, though? He's an attacker, so I figure he can't be a bad time trialist, but maybe I'm wrong. The Vs. crew keep saying he'll lose time in the TT, but I haven't seen anybody give an example yet.

  4. cthulhu says:

    I think Voeckler's time loss today really hurt him, because that time I guess will be the difference he would have needed to keep the jersey another day. I saw him carrying it till Saturday, at least Friday, but I guess now he will lose it tomorrow, but hey, go Tommy and prove me wrong ;)

    At the moment Evans holds all the cards to win the race. As strong as he looks anyone contending for the victory needs at least a one minute advantage going into the final TT, weaker TTist as Sanchez or Fränk maybe more. I think what is needed is an alliance tomorrow between the Schlecks and AC to make Evans break on the really hard climbs to gain time before the TT, but are they strong/fit enough for that task, and are they willing to trust each other that much?

    I think Evans, one of the Schlecks and AC will be on the podium, though in which order, I don't know yet, anything is still possible…

  5. bmj says:

    If Evans can make it through tomorrow's stage on Contador's wheel, or with even a bit of lost time, he holds the cards for the time trial. He is also familiar with the course (at least more so than Contador and the Schlecks). I do, however, fear that he will crack a bit tomorrow. I really want Evans to win, though.

    TV's had a great run in yellow, but I don't see him holding beyond the time trial (or even tomorrow).

    Given the parcours over the next two days, Sanchez may be a good bet for a podium finish. He can't have a dig at a stage win at this point, and he likely lost the chance to accrue a lot of mountain points since he'll be on a tight leash.

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