I cannot contain my excitement anymore. The Tour is coming. The hype is building. A strong field awaits. This year’s course is relentless. The colossal and looming mountains will devour many, many of the best riders in the world. And of course, the winds of rumor and fact begin to swirl and blend.
One of the first and foremost questions being asked and debated is if Alberto Contador will double. No, he will not. There. I said it. The field of the Tour is much stronger than the Giro, in the fact that El Pistolero has more to watch than only one to two people like he did in the Giro. Also, doubling after such a strong previous effort, in a place like the Tour with this “climbers” course, takes such a dramatic toll on the body. Tinkoff-Saxo is no slouch team. They have the fire power to protect Contador, but this will not be his Tour.
May I just go ahead and discuss the giant elephant standing in the room? Yes, the news has already discussed it, but it picks up a new wind as the Tour approaches. Froome missed a dope check. He gives a “my bad” reason. From his inhaler issues to health problems to now this, I think that Chris Froome is not a viable candidate to win. I am not going to discuss all of the parallels between Lance and his wife to Chris and his wife, but they are strikingly similar. I am personally tired of anytime the Tour, or cycling in general for that matter, is brought up there is doping in the discussion. It will eventually destroy professional cycling as a sport if drastic measures aren’t taken . . . much like professional bodybuilding did in its rapid death beginning in the late 70s and 80s. Is professional bodybuilding still there? Sure, but it is not on any major sports channel. Even the year’s newly crowned Mr. Universe doesn’t make the news anymore. But I digress.
All of this brings me to the other two factors in the pack: Nibali and Quintana. I’m not saying that either will definitely win. Nibali has loads of experience and talent and is an intimidating force. He’s got all of the tools for this race, and the course seems to fit him. He’s been there done that. I would not be surprised at all if he is not draped in yellow throughout this race. Then there is little Quintana. He is an absolute monster when the elevation kicks up. I’ve heard that many think that Quintana is riding very well, but there is the question of his being able to control the “largeness” of such a race with little experience. Just between you and me, I’ve got my fingers crossed for him.
Sure, there are others. There’s always a dark horse. Who do you think the field should keep an eye on, not being mentioned in the news?