2013 Tour de France

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    Jun 29, 2013 5:13 PM GMT
    I'll be in France following le Tour for the final week in the Alps and the Champs-Elysees. I cannot wait and am looking forward to this vacation more than any I've ever done.

    So who am I going to see on the podium in Paris? My predictions are below, please add your own!

    Yellow Jersey:
    Chris Froome is the obvious choice for the top step. He's been on fire this year and Sky has controlled every race they've put their collective robotic minds to. Sure, everybody knows this and he'll be a marked man, but I don't think there is another team out there with the ability to shut them down over three weeks.

    As far as second and third go, I think we'll see Richie Porte from Sky up there as he'll be pacing Froome every pedal stroke of the tour. The other rider up there is a bit of a tossup for me--everyone thinks it will be Alberto Contador, but for some strange reason since he's come back from his doping ban, he hasn't quite put up the effort we've seen from him earlier in his career. So for me, I'm torn between three outside chances...Alejandro Valverde, Ryder Hesjedal, or Tejay Van Gaarderen. My wildcard is Van Gaarderen since he's a good time trialist and climber. As much as he says he's riding for Cadel Evans, I think Cadel will crack somewhere or Tejay will have better position after the individual time trials so BMC will launch Tejay earlier like they should have last year. I am rooting for Hesjedal too, though--I think Garmin built a strong GC contender squad for this purpose but he's had some bad luck this year.

    Green Jersey:
    It really comes down to a head-to-head battle between Cavendish and Sagan. With perpetual bridesmaid Tyler Farrar out of the race, that leaves Greipel and Kittel to deliver spoilers along the way. All four riders have teams built around sprint stage wins, but it will be either Cav or Sagan in green at the end. In the end, though, I think Cav will go for stage wins and Sagan will go for the jersey and take more points in the intermediate sprints.

    (BTW, I'm watching the first stage right now on the DVR, so I don't know who got this first sprint win yet...I think it will be Cav in his skinsuit for his first day in Yellow tomorrow. He'll also take the stage win in Paris).

    White Jersey:
    Van Gaarderen

    Polka Dot Jersey:
    No idea...I'm not good at this one, but expect to see Thomas Voekler turn himself inside out again on the climbs to at least get wear it for a few days.

    What do you think?
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    Jun 29, 2013 11:01 PM GMT
    I just found out today that the guy who shares a hangar with me at the airport does road racing. The Tour de France is his dream. Hopefully I'll see his name in the lineup in a few years.

    As for this year's race, well, I've never really followed the Tour de France; but it does look odd to NOT see Lance's name at the top.
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    Jul 01, 2013 7:33 PM GMT
    I can't imagine what the party on L'Alpe d'Huez will be like this year since they are climbing it twice!
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    Jul 02, 2013 2:23 AM GMT
    Unintended saidA went to France to view several TdFs. The first time, I sat on the Champs-Élysées in the mayor's box! I have a great photo of Floyd Landis in Yellow on the Col du Galibier and many, many more.

    I will be on a balcony overlooking the Place de la Concorde for the finale, so I have a pretty good viewing spot lined up as well.

    Unintended saidIf you are riding, be careful. The descents get fast very quickly.

    I will be riding. Particularly, I'll be riding ahead of the stage to the summit of Alpe d'Huez, so I'll get to be in the middle of the madness before the pros get there and then get to see both passes! A friend of mine has also done that climb ahead of a TdF stage and he says there is nothing like it with all the spectators cheering you on even though you are a nobody. I'm not looking forward to that descent since the road will still be clogged with spectators making their way down, I suppose.

    The day before that, I'll tackle Col du Galibier and Col de Telegraphe...twice...on an out-and-back. I might decide to skip the second passes, though, because I want to make sure I have the legs for Alpe d'Huez the next day. I'll be doing repeats up Palomar Mountain locally this weekend because I'd rather suffer here than on vacation.