Thursday, July 29, 2010

Post Tour melancholy

So: now that the sleep deprivation has worn off and the dust has settled on the Champs-Élysées, what to make of Le Tour 2010? Well, for starters my predictions were about as bad as they have ever been. I got the winner right and that was it.

To be fair nobody else I saw managed to pick more than two out of the top five (oh, all right Monsieur Jean-Francois Quenet got three), but even so I would have done better if I had just republished last year's list.

The green jersey list would have been spot on if Petacchi had followed Cipollini's example and headed for the Riviera at the first sign of mountains and you ignore the fact that Robbie was placed below Rojas on a countback. And as for the mountains jersey, well the less said about that the better. I do find it sad that all the real mountain specialists don't seem interested in this classification anymore. They should just rename it the mediocre French journeyman's prize ...

Contador didn't seem to have the same form as last year and I would have loved to seen Schleck really attack him in the mountains. You also have to wonder what would have happened if Andy hadn't lost 42 seconds to Contador in the prologue. How could a serious GC contender lose so much time over 8.9 km? He even lost less time than that to Contador in the 52 km on the penultimate day.

Anyway, I seriously underestimated Schleck's form and if everything goes well for him you have to imagine him winning in the next year or two. And I drastically overestimated how strong Armstrong and Wiggins were – both were a big disappointment. Armstrong looked like he couldn't quite believe that his legs wouldn't keep up with the younger generation and he was unlucky at crucial points, but as Phil or Paul said, when lady luck gives up on you she really gives up. As for Wiggins he just never looked like a serious contender this year. I think the miscalculation on the opening prologue hit him hard psychologically and it will be interesting to see if he can get back in the top ten next year.

Rogers was an even bigger disappointment than Wiggins and Armstrong and, as he said himself near the end of the race, he just isn't cut out for the three week grand tours. Unlike a true GC contender who seems to get stronger as the race goes on you can just see Rogers fading away. Kreuziger did pretty well and I reckon you will see him on the podium before too long.

No comments: