'07 Tour Predictions: Overall

My predictions are a bit late for my "predict early, predict often" philosophy and I got to get to bed so I can wake up for the 6:30am prologue tomorrow. Here's my quick picks:

  1. Alejandro Valverde: it's probably bad to pick someone who's never actually finished a Tour, but a ProTour champion and a 2006 2nd place Vuelta finisher deserves some respect. Of course, that 2nd place came to none other than Vinokourov. The Astana squad seems stronger, but Vino's aggressive style often costs him big time.

  2. Levi Leipheimer: The Tour of California currently has a perfect prediction rate for the Tour de France (1 for 1), so naturally Levi's victory this year is ensured. Joking aside, Levi's new Landis-like TT position has delivered Landis-like early season results. Leipheimer dialed it back a bit for the Dauphine this year, so it would seem that he won't have the trouble of peaking too early this year, but he simply doesn't have the palmares of Valvderde -- which is probably why Bruyneel signed Basso. This should be Levi's best ever Tour, but I still can't seem him taking the overall win, no matter how loaded the Discovery squad is this year. Discovery and Astana will duke it out big time -- Astana looks better based on more recent race results, but the Discovery train has always demonstrated better tactics than any team Vino is on.

  3. Alexander Vinokourov: I originally stuck Vino at #2 in my picks, but I think he's going to make a mistake that will cost him big. Vino took the Vuelta as his consolation prize last year, which came in spite of his overly aggressive style. I think his tactics are simply too risky in the Tour -- there are many more big riders that can take advantage of his mistakes in a Tour than a Vuelta.

  4. Frank Schleck: I have to do something odd to make these predictions interesting. Having two leaders can be distracting, but it does provide a nice tactical advantage. I can see a good overall result for Schleck if teams are too busy watching Sastre.

  5. Christophe Moreau: A Dauphine win deserves some respect.

  6. Cadel Evans: Evans got fifth last year, but there was no Vino and Valverde crashed out early. There's no Landis this year, but Moreau and Leipheimer seem to promise better results this year.

  7. Denis Menchov: He's a Vuelta winner, but he also faded in the Tour last year.

related articles: Tour de France 2007
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