Tour of California Prediction: Landis vs. Levi, Landis takes it

Landis and Leipheimer chatting during warmups

It's time to lock in picks. According to Cyclelicious, the favorites are currently Kirchen, Vande Velde, and Leipheimer. I personally don't really see Kirchen winning it -- sure Columbia is motivated on US soil, but I don't think it's a coincidence that the Tour of California has only been won by Californians. Motivation counts. Garmin already seems to be discounting Vande Velde's odds based on the fact that he's their horse for the Tour de France and isn't in prime form.

Leipheimer is certainly motivated as a two-time winner. He also doesn't have to worry about the rest of the season as much: with Contador and Armstrong on his team, this is really the one objective that he'll have the team pushing him as the leader for.

But for my pick I'm going to go with the inaugural winner of the Tour of California: Floyd Landis. He may not have many races in the legs recently, but the Tour of California still favors strong time trialers. There is that whole hip thing, but from what I hear Landis is fit. Team OUCH will have a hard time battling Astana's guns, but it's not something Landis isn't used to and the old HealthNet guys know how to do battle on North American soil. I predict a comeback.

related articles: Tour of California Tour of California 2009
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Comments (4)

Ben:

Won't the weather conditions be a big consideration? Many of the days will be rainy.

kwc:

@Ben: how would that affect your own predictions?

For sprinting, wouldn't Cavendish be your man?

Was having a discussion in the bike car this morning and there wree many Floyd fans riding the train.

kwc:

Sprints are always much harder to predict at the ToC. Sprinters are not in form yet -- recall that Cavendish didn't win any stages last year, though he did "win" and get relegated. JJ Haedo has tons of ToC victories to his credit, yet fails to produce similar results later in the year. I think Cavendish will get one as Columbia needs that out of him, but I don't think it will be TdF-level domination. Also, with this weather I'm not sure that there will be too many sprints.

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