We got the normal mix of riders coming off the Tour plus other riders who haven't raced for a month so its hard to predict just who will seriously contest this race and who will drop out when they see the Jaizkibel the second time around.
But regardless the view we get when the TV camera pans around to the sea at the top is one of the best views in all of cycling. That's if the weather cooperates. Right now, the weather looks o-kay, maybe.
This year, the race retains that last Cat 2 climb, the Arkale, about 15 km away from the finish, and which serves mainly to reserve the final selection to riders who can do some climbing but have some sort of kick in the end.
Who's gonna win? Look towards these guys: defending champ Lulu, Bobo who was getting better in the Alps, Barredo (Rabobank is stacked for this race) Zubes, Samu, Cunego, Porte, Sastre, Hesjedal, J-Rod and Killer. The Good Chavanel and Gilbert could contest if they feel like it. Marcato, Gerdemann, Foogs, and on paper Devo though we know that won't happen. Even JJ Rojas or Oscarito could. Jeez, There's loads of riders lining up who could win this thing if they put in the extra effort. Next year put your money on Valverde but this year?
My pick: Roman Kreuziger.