No, '"WTF are they doing here" guys are NOT guys who don't belong in the TDF (although feel free to name these culprits in the comments). They are guys who show up at particular spot in the race when you think they have no business being there. The sprinter at the front of a cat 1 climb. The mountain goat making a play in the sprint. The neo-pro in a select group of hardmen. Or for the pessimists, the GC guy who is most likely to be leading the grupetto. Being a "WTF are they doing here" guy is always easy to spot, because you'll have just said "WTF are they doing here".
Below is a list of 5 "WTF" guys who either have a history of "WTF", are "WTF", or have the potential to be "WTF are the doing here" guys.
1) Edvald Boasson Hagen
Not a true WTF guy, becuase he is expected be a WTF guy. But his abilities as a racer make him essential to this list. You think of him as a bunch sprinter? Well he can TT too. Think of him as a rider on flat land? Well he can climb too. We all know this already but there are sure to be new cycling fans this July saying "WTF is doing here". And for us, we can shout "WTF are you doing there" whenever he is off the back and not living up to his lofty potential.
2) Geraint Thomas
Not this year of course. Last year he proved to be an authentic WTF are you doing here guy. His ride into COBBLE LAND at the front with the big guys was shocking to most, but not all. JV had apparently predicted the kid to have a 09 Wiggins like ride - and I'm sure more knowledgable fans (99% of pdc) knew the talent in this kid's legs. He got the white jersey that day and defended it admirablly. He carried his WTFness into this year's classics season where he was constantly bumping elbows with the more established racers of the season. He'll be poking his nose into sprint trains and breakaways as well as helping Wiggings in the mountains so get ready to say hear WTF a lot.
3) Damiano Cunego
He's calling himself a GC guy again, apparently. So when you see him off the back at on the climb to Plateau de Beille give out a sympathy "WTF he is doing there". Or maybe he wont be off the back, and then you can give a geniuinely surprised WTF. He can also be deserving of WTF if he goes chasing Gilbert for stage wins early on in the race, or if he happens to be going in breakaways late in the race. He can really be all over the place, both good and bad places, so I'm sure he'll be hearing WTFs from all directions.
4) Jelle Vanendert
Personally, he was the WTF revelation of this seasons Ardennes races. I had no idea who he was before April, did you? Yeah Gilbert did OK, but Philippe's personal bodyguard did a damn good job (26, 13, 6, 17). Going into the tour he'll be on triple duty helping the Gorilla sprint, Philippe stage hunt, and JVDB climb like a tiger. Time to get to work sir. Spoiler alert: With all that work I'm sure he'll get rewarded with a day in the break. Try to look surprised when saying "WTF is he doing there".
5) Tom Boonen
WTF is he doing on this list!! I had the option of picking some really obvious names to fill this final spot, or picking some obscure rider in an effort to look smart ( aka: less dumber) - so I decided to combine the two. Basically, I'm not convinced Boonen is coming here to sprint. So I'm taking a long shot that he is going to be doing some very un-Bonnen racing at this tour. I have no clue what this means but I thought it would be worth a slot.
Honorable mention to Rigoberto Uran.
I started follwoing cycling and specifcally the TDF during Landis' coming out party. Took me a couple of years to figure out who belonged where. I think it was the 2009 tour towards the end when I started figuring things out. It was some important climb (can't remember which and CQ rankings is calling my a liar) where the GC guys had separated themselves - EXCEPT for the presence of Uran. Yup, he was my first WTF. He didn't make it to the finish with the favorites but it earned him a spot on my 2010 VDS.
Anyways, feel free to mention other WTF guys in the comments. I'm especially interested in learning about some lesser known guys who have the legs to surprise.
P.S. Sorry if I stepped on toes with a couple of my riders. I'm sure my analysis was shallow enough to leave enough for everybody.