Well, it’s time for predictions using my carbon ball, which is lighter if less effective for peering into than your typical crystal ball commonly used for these types of activities.
Status Check: Condator has pulled off the impossible duality of being both the best climber in the world and the best time-trialist. Some people have done the math on how quickly he climbed up to Verbier and have determined he is either running on petrol and crystal meth, is not a carbon-based life form, or both. The Schleck Brothers have provided the only worthwhile racing in the General Classification with an amazing race on Stage 17. Armstrong is racing well, but not good enough to win, Evans has blown spectacularly, and Sastre made a mockery of himself by lambasting the media for not showing him the respect he deserves as defending champion on his way to securing a top 20 finish this go around.
Tomorrow’s race up the Ventoux should prove to be a fight for the podium. Andy Shleck currently holds a comfortable second with ~1:20 over Lance Armstrong who sits in third. From there, it’s 30 seconds between the next three on GC; Armstrong, Wiggins, Kloden, and Frank Schleck all are within a fighting chance of taking third. That said, a mediocre-to-bad ride by Andy could see him concede a place or two, while only a disastrous ride – or a Simpson-style overdose – could unseat Contador.
On to my predictions:
- Contador floats up the mountain, matching every acceleration thrown at him, before he speeds away to take the stage win, annoying every person on Earth except Alberto Contador. He will be declared positive before August 31.
- The Brothers Schleck attack near the base of the Ventoux. Contador follows (see above), and the final podium is Contador, Andy, Frank.
- Armstrong bests Wiggo and Kloden. He secures 4th overall.
- Kloden blows massively on the lower slopes and looses big time, ending up out of the top 5.
- Wiggo rides within himself to haul his big frame up that monster and takes 5th.
- Carlos Sastre attacks at the base, going for the stage win, but gets swallowed up as the fireworks for the GC light up behind.
Bring it on!