Warm, not hot. A gentle wind on the skin. Blue sky - as it's supposed to be - and darker blue sea. Soft but solid sand under my lazy feet. Finally I'm resting. True rest. Doing nothing. Son is splashing. My friend Camilla sun bathing. I keep the shadow and think that for this summer me cyclig is over: no Tour de France.
I'll watch it of course on the telly. I'll watch it... but it isn't the same. So it's time for me to bike a bit more and concentrate on my son's races instead. He's young but serious, all the race in front also the last Saturday and dropped just at the last lap because deliberately closed. No matter: he has to learn.
The Tour has been so long the center of my year that it's strange to be detached. But finally the road gave his verdict and I can tell that my rider Andy Schleck didn't get back to his level and will not. I don't say 'nerver' because you never know. For sure not in time for the next Tour de France. So I feel like 'a lacke in the heart' - as poet Vittorio Sereni once wrote - and I guess that Andy too. The Tour has been the center of his life for so long, since ever.
But life is moving on. You can be aware of it and try to decide where you want to go or simply be dragged away. You can change your goals or find out that they changed. You can decide your goals are let them change your life. Yes, I think you can. And he can too.
Now I hope that Trek Factory Racing is NOT going to bring Andy to the Tour. I hope they set new goals for him and that he decide to get them as an opportunity not as a defeat.
So looking back to the last races, especially Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse, and looking forward to the Tour de France it's normal to wonder who is going to make the show, in spite the start list isn't complete yet.
UCI ranking isn't a perfect instrument still it can give an idea of who is performing well. So here you have the actual top ten (source : http://www.procyclingstats.com/race/Tour_de_France_2014 )
1.Christopher Froome (GB)1,260
2.Alberto Contador (ES)1,130
3.Joaquim Rodríguez (ES)926
4.Rui Costa (PT)866
5.Alejandro Valverde (ES)780
6.Jakob Fuglsang (DK)685
7.Roman Kreuziger (CZ)682
8.Tejay van Garderen (US)655
9.Bauke Mollema (NL)607
10.Mathias Frank (CH)592
Rui Costa just won the Tour de Suisse: " #TourdeSuisse Hat-trick" he said "Winning once is good, two is fine, but three... Is EXCELLENT. Proud to win with rainbow jersey. Orgulhoso por ganhar com a camisola arco-íris. Obrigado pelo apoio, amigos" First win in the Rainbow, good shape - not blasting. Froome jus lost the Dauphiné, had a complicated early season, a debated win in Romandie - bullshit if you ask me but still... - and in general there are doubts about his health. He can be terrific but also suddenly crack. Alberto Contador didn't win the Dauphiné because of a tactical mistake. His shape is very good, he's going to be a main contender in July. Valverde is and remains a 'threat' - and I think that Movistar did right in bringing Quintana to the Giro - but I don't consider him the favourite.
To be honest I don't think there is a favourite in the next Tour de France and that makes it exciting. Bauke Mollema is a rider I like and he's going to give it all but he's going to need also a lot of good luck, Team Belkin sponsorship troubles don't help too. Vincenzo Nibali is not in the top ten and didn't seem so fit so far. Is he going to peack just for the last week of the Tour? it could be. Van Garderen also didn't shine so his rise as Cadel Evans' substitute looks harder than expected. And what about Purito Rodriguez? He targeted the Giro, crashed out and now he's back: hard to tell where he really stand.
I could list more names. I'm sure it's going to be a very open race. But if I have to bet on a easy winner it should be Alberto Contador. Or Chris Froome. Or Purito Rodriguez. As I often say: surprise me!
|14.06||Stage 1 (ITT) | Bellinzona » Bellinzona||MARTIN Tony||MARTIN Tony||9.4|
|15.06||Stage 2 | Bellinzona » Sarnen||MEYER Cameron||MARTIN Tony||181.8|
|16.06||Stage 3 | Sarnen » Heiden||SAGAN Peter||MARTIN Tony||202.9|
|17.06||Stage 4 | Heiden » Ossingen||CAVENDISH Mark||MARTIN Tony||160.4|
|18.06||Stage 5 | Ossingen » Buren a. Aare||MODOLO Sacha||MARTIN Tony||183.6|
|19.06||Stage 6 | Buren a. Aare » Delémont||TRENTIN Matteo||MARTIN Tony||183.5|
|20.06||Stage 7 (ITT) | Worb » Worb||MARTIN Tony||MARTIN Tony||24.7|
|21.06||Stage 8 | Delémont » Verbier||CHAVES Johan Esteban||MARTIN Tony||219.1|
|22.06||Stage 9 | Martigny » Saas-Fee||COSTA Rui||156.5|
|22.06||General Classification||COSTA Rui|
|22.06||Points Classification||SAGAN Peter|
|22.06||Mountains Classification||THURAU Bjorn|
|22.06||Teams Classification||BELKIN-PRO CYCLING TEAM|