Seven PdC Editors Predict the Tour

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There's no denying it: The Tour de France is the mother of all races. Its so big that the Editors here at Podium Cafe struggle to report all the stories, all the angles of the three week drama. But there's one aspect of Tour coverage that we have neglected for YEARS and that's relieving you all of the suspense and just flat-out telling you who's gonna win. For that we Eds apologize. How could we withhold from you what we already know? I'm not saying that the fix is in but since we're experts here we can divine the form that each rider is in and can project the outcome of each stage and the overall. We even know which riders crash out and where!

I should be careful with my words here. When I say that we know the outcome of the race I'm really saying that we're totally utterly completely clueless we have some slight disagreements between us. Sort of like the Six Blind Men of Indostan checking out that elephant. What follows then are the predictions of seven of us Ed's including a certain Zombie Ed filling in for Drew who had more important "things to do" like washing his hair. Not only predictions though! After each prediction, one of us Ed's has a rebuttal: the type of lucid, serious, non-nonsense anaylsis that you've come to expect from PdC. Let's start off with our Fearless Leader, Chris, and his predictions. Chris? You got something?

1) Robert Gesink

2) Wiggo 2nd, Evans 3rd

3) Points Sagan; Mtns Hoogerland; White Tejay VG

Hmm. On the flip, or as they say in Sweden, på luckan, we have some random manager of the children's department of the Stockholm branch of Ikea Jens to critique Chris:

Says Jens-

Gesink: "We all knew Chris was going to go with a dutchman as far as there was at least one with almost perfect use of his legs."

Winning the polka requires smart, focused and calculating riding, exactly the kind of qualities we have come to expect from Johnny Hoogerland.

The clean White jersey is reminiscent of a fine piece of Apple hardware so no wonder Chris thinks of Tejay, overhyped and expensive as hell.

Sagan: In a surprise lucid moment, Chris manages to overlook the Wenatchee Wonder.

Do I detect sarcasm? Say it ain't so! I didn't think Swedes could do that! Do they need more vacation time?

Ho-kay. We may have a minor disagreement here. Let's see what Jens thinks about the Tour:

1: Winner: Cadel Evans, New and improved Cuddles will be left standing as others falter.

2: 1. Evans 2. Gesink 3. Nibali

3: Spotty= Samuel Sanchez, Points=Sagan., White= Wout Poels

THAT'S that sober vacation-bound Lutheran assessment we've come to love from Jens. In other words, we are going straight to hell. But WAIT! Majope begs to differ!

Evans, huh? Disclaimer: I picked Evans to win, too, but that doesn't exactly work in your favor. Using actual logic, it seems unlikely his BMC boys will overcome the Sky-Blue Train, or that, based on this year's performance so far, Cuddles won't lose a total of 3-4 minutes to Wiggo in the time trials.

Speaking of those 100 km of TT...You. Left. Wiggins. Completely. Off. The. Podium. Let's take a look at some numbers, shall we? The ONE time in his life that Gesink has ever placed higher in a TT than Wiggins is the prologue of the 2010 Tour, when he gained 5 seconds on Wiggo--who, according to press reports, raced in the worst conditions of the rainy, wind-swept day. Conversely, Wiggins gained 5 MINUTES on Bobo in the final TT of last year's Tour. Bobo going to make up that kind of time in the mountains? No.

On paper, Nibali doesn't suck quite as badly against Wiggins, but he did lose 3:30 to him in the 53 km Dauphine TT. You might have snuck one of these guys onto the podium in front of someone like, say, Menchov. But to put both ahead of Wiggins makes me wonder if we should rename the PdC game FFS DS in your honor.

SamSan for spots? It does save time to just pick last year's winner, doesn't it?

Sagan for points...Yeeeeaaaaah, maybe. I mean, he's strong and all, but the kid has finished just one GT in his life, and came in 4th in points there, despite winning 3 stages.

Wout Poels: Just a reminder: 2nd in the Tour of Luxembourg does not necessarily prefigure great things.

Hoosier Majope in six throbbing, engorged, lustful, pulsing paragraphs rips the bodice off of Jens' predictions. But perhaps Majpoe thinks she can do better?

The winner of the Tour: Evans! Wiggo is going to have a bad day in the mountains and lose 8 minutes. He will gain 6 of them back in the last TT and come in 2nd.

Podium: Evans, Wiggins, Menchov. Shut up. I need the points.

White jersey: Tejay! Because he was born on my somethty-something birthday.

Green jersey: Greipel, because he'll stay to the end and Cav won't. No, wait--Petacchi because he's still wily after all these years. Ah, hell, Freire, because everybody will want him to. Final answer.

Spotty jersey: Are any climby types coming to the Tour? I never pay much attention to this one (ducks). Won't be SamSan again--he doesn't have much shot at another gold medal, but he sure did like his last one enough to dream of doing it anyway. Let's say...Jeremy Roy. France sure likes it when one of theirs is in dots.

I get to critique Majope! Whoo-hoo! Like shooting fish in a barrel.

So. Wiggo? You channeling Rebekah Brooks now? Did Murdoch put you up to this? Or is Wiggo you new towel boy? (Little known fact: Wiggo was born in and spent the first 18 years of his life in Brooks' hair. That's why he's so freakin' white.) Tsk tsk.

The other two podium boys are incredibly astute picks since I have them too though in far better order.

Oscarito? For green? For green? FOR GREEN? I mean I haven't checked the Tour course out lately but unless it veers off to Box Hill somewhere around stage 9 or 10 and stays there for the rest of the race, Friere is gonna be waaaay off course. Should have stuck with Greipel, who will come alive after Cav bails and pronounces the rest of the flat stages like the Champs SSR's.

Roy's a great pick for the spots, if you leave aside all the other better climbing French dudes.

Picking Teejay for white is like betting on betamax to resurrect itself as the video recording platform of the future.

Moving quickly on, my picks. Take 'em to the bank:

Winner of the Tour.....Denis Menchov! He subsequently signs a promo deal with Denny’s restaurants. Yeah I know that’s a huge reach since the two Denny’s spell their names differently but you expect that restaurant to notice such subtitles? can't you just picture Menchov looking into the camera, huge smile on his face as he tucks into a Grand Slam breakfast? Yeppers! Now that's a Tour of America that Denis can win hands down!

Podium: 1) Menchov 2) Evans 3) Nibali

Menchov and Evans will be the real story here as scant seconds separate them all the way through the race. Really, its a toss-up between the two. Nibali isn’t too far behind either. In fact the leaderboard will have very little separation. JVDB just misses 3rd. I..I...just can’t bear to write Wiggins anywhere near the podium in case you’re wondering.

Green jersey: Sagan. Sagan or Kittel. Kittel. I have to choose? Sagan because I stupidly picked EBH for my FSA DS team instead of the Fastvakian.

Spotty jersey: Chris Anker Sorensen Totally wrong of course since the UCI code says that only one Saxo rider can score points and, hint: he ain’t here.

White jersey: Wout Poels. I would predict Teejay but he’s working for Cuddles. Besides-me picking a Belgian? Too funny.

We need a break here so I can explain things. Obviously we are scraping the bottom of the Ed barrel in this post what with the Eds we already included. But did you know that there's a secret subterranean layer underneath said bottom of the barrel? Filled with yet more Ed's? True! Hey Jimbo! What do you think of my picks!

Menchov? Are you high? He hasn't done anything since he tried to power-slide across the finish line at the Giro back in the olden days. But then again maybe your not batshit crazy... Menchov is the anti-Wiggins in that he never talks and, thusly, he never makes himself seem like an a-hole because of the words that come from his pie-holet. And for the record, if Denis wins, or if Denny's hires Denis as their spokesperson, I pledge to go there once a week for a year and order "Moons Over My Hammy" with a double-dose of Lipitor for an appetizer.

Evans in second? Now that is a wise prediction. Nice work. Too bad we're both going to be wrong.

Nibali? Gav, how do you say "meh" in Italian?

SAGAN! SAGAN! SAGAN! Prepare yourselves for the coming Sagemony! The Sagapocalypse! The Age of Saquarius!

Sorensen for the dots will never happen for three reasons 1) He is not latin nor French. 2) He is Danish 3) He does not ride for Cofidis, and 4) All of the above

Wout Poels? Who the fuck is Wout Poels? You sure you spelled that correctly because that does not look like a real name. Seriously.

I must admit, Jimbo has a point about "Wout Poels". And, yeah I was totally high when I made my predictions. I was sooo hungry! Speaking of hungry, this linear crap is starting to bum me out so let's segue to Sui Juris and see what he has to say:

The 2012 Tour. Once so promising, now so hobbled. Contador, he is on a beach. Andy? He is a beetch. So disappointing. But some things remain the same. Like Spartacus, who will take the prologue. Sure, as short as it is, it could be within reach of anyone. But don't discount the power of the bitterness of sitting out the first half of the season.

But Fabian? He will not win Le Tour. No, this year the Tour goes to Evans, a right and honorable winner who will win it because he is more stable than the next biggest threat, Wiggins. Consider the irony. (Or consider Valverde, who just might dip into his suitcase of . . . well, something. Just one one more time.)

Clearly, the podium will put Evans on top, and – being generous, because I kinda like the guy – Wiggins somehow holds on for third, despite blowing up spectacularly. The silent Dennis Menchov will shiv his way onto the second step.

Jerseys? Well. I was going to call in complicated, before going all homer on Tejay Van Garderen, but look, Sagan is still eligible. WTF. Sagan it is. (But really, I'd be thrilled if Nibali stole it.) KOM? Well, since my favorite KOM of the last decade isn't available (half man/half spider Mauricio Soler), I'll tap Samu. Samu's got the uphill light, but not the GC cigar. Points/green jersey. Seriously, is this even a question? Sure, overenthusiastic youth have Sagan up with the oddsmakers, and simple humanity would love to see Greipel gorilla his way onto the scene. But no. If it's July, it's Cavendish. That's just how it goes. (Until it doesn't).

Lawyer speak. Harshing my mellow. Maybe a fish lawyer can groove me to a happier place. They're environmental and stuff. Chris? You're a nice even, nay, benevolent ruler, strictly applying the rule of law in all cases, even when Sea Lions like Sui are involved. What do you think of Sui's picks?

First of all, Sui Juris's pun disqualifies him from any further role with this website. That's just unforgivable. So disappointing indeed.

As for his ananimalys, Sui goes with stability over the alternative. Here, I have a bit more sympathy for him. He lives in ... a corner of America where individual stability is in short supply. So I can understand this longing.

But it's misplaced. Since when is Mr. Don't Step On My Dog Or I'll Crush Your Head the model of stability? You want stability, try Nibali. He's a nice southern Italian boy. Loves his momma and his bicycle too.

Sui likes Wiggins, deep down. Both men seem fully capable of drinking too much and throwing a chair through a pub window. Being a lawyer, Sui's weapon of choice is the cutting remark, followed by looking around for friends to protect him. Which now that I think about it sounds a lot like Wiggins.

I like the Menchov call, however. Shivs are only illegal in cycling if the guy didn't have it coming.

White: Sagan? Sounds like someone got suckered in by the Amgen emails selling the jerseys at a discount. Sagan will not try to win the white jersey. He's too busy raising his arms to contest one of those silly cumulative-time competitions.

Green: Sheesh. I'm going to say this slowly. Cavendish... can't... climb... to save... his fricking... life. I know, half-Brit Sui is calling the UK hegemony. This won't end well though. British men also cry, Sui. British men also cry.

Yeeeeaaaaah. Benevolent. Just. Fair, Moderately tempered, I'd say. Quickly moving on we got, aw hell... Jimbo? We need some sanity. What you got?

Yellow: Brad Wiggins, who I hate like I hate cancer, mainly because the guy seems like such a total asshole every time he opens his gob. OK, maybe "hate" is a strong word, but I strongly dislike the guy and will be angry and bitter if I am correct. But cancer I hate.

Second: Cadel Evans. He will either come in second or he won't finish. Either way, he will cry about it, which is fine. Strong men also cry...

Third: Robert Gesink. Met him at the Tour of California a few years back when I snuck into the Rabobank hospitality tent and drank their beer and ate their cheese squares. Henie Kuiper interviewed him for the assembled VIP's about two feet away from me. One of my fondest memories.

Green: Call me crazy but I think Peter Sagan is going to win it this year. He is a force of nature, that kid. Cav won't win it because he has a child now and it is a universal truth that children suck the life out of you and make you old and slow. I am living proof. I used to be fast and young, then I had kids. Now I am old and slow. That is the transitive property right there, IIRC.

Polka-dot: No idea really, but I'm pretty sure he will ride for Cofidis, since they always seem to bring someone to win the climbing, right? So let's take a look at their roster.... hmmm.....OK, I'm going to go with Luis Angel Mate. Actually, I am certain he will win it. He's latin, he has stupid hair, he's as skinny as an Olsen twin, and I've never heard of him before. He's perfect.

White: Tejay van Garderen, who I am picking mainly because he's the only guy I know for certain is both a GC type and is young.

Amgen Most Courageous Rider Jersey: Levi. He always wins it. It's totally rigged.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

Nice pick, that Levi. A pick like that deserves a special response and for that we go to where the sun don't shine.

Crashdan.

But what does Jimbo think of Dan analysing his picks?

Great. The only editor who pays less attention to cycling than I do gets to critique me. Fucking awesome... Hey Dan, I have $10 with your name on it if you can work a mention of your Sherwood Wisdom 2 Nitrox diving computer into your piece. Another $10 if you can do it in iambic pentameter. Go!

Oh that reminds me. Dan we are still waiting for your 12th round pick in the 09 Ed's league draft. Anytime now.

Crashdan ignores me and replies to Jimbo:

Ahhhh Jimbo. Closing with Ramses (the quote, not the prophylactic). Well, I'm on you like a Biblical plague to bring everyone who reads your false prophecy to the promised land. And not only that, but I'm going to do it with cycling knowledge that effectively ended in 2010.

Yellow: What, really? You hate Wiggins but think he'll win? He opens his gob and says something stupid and because of this you find him distasteful? How have you managed to get along with Sui all these years? Let's look at Wiggin's results for the last five years (mainly because I don't know them)

2007: Wins Tour Prologue

2008: Appointed Commander of the British Empire for dancing the Madison, the Jitterbug and the Charleston with Cavendish.

2009: Races a Tour that is the equivalent of Robert Millar and Wikipedia says he was attacked by the Schlecks in the mountains which I think is a scene from Deliverance.

2010: British National Time Trial Champion (which is like being the Fernando Valenzuela of Zanzibar). Finishes tour 24th.

2011: Has his clavicle reshaped as a laurel wreath.

Really, the main problem with Wiggo, other than that nickname, is that he's a mod and owns classic scooter. As a rocker, it is my duty to officially hate Wiggins because of this. Wiggins won't finish the tour this year.

Second: Cadel Evans. Well, I picked him as second too, so I can't really complain here, but I will anyway. I've never liked the Australian. Mainly because of the sound of his voice. Now some may say that's as trite a reason as your's for finding Wiggins distasteful. Some may say that. They'd be right. The guy's voice is as obnoxious as David Beckham's, and I suspect they both went to the Nigel Tufnel Finishing School for Vocal Coaching. But yes, second place.

Third: Gesink? This guy is still racing? Gesink always struck me as Robin to any other Dutchman's Batman. The guy simply will not get on the podium. Why? Because I said so. Did you pick this guy because you felt you had to round out the field with an Oranjeman to appease Cristoforo? The guy's nickname is "The Condor of Varsseveld"!! He won't have any success until he gets a real nickname like "The Killer" or "The Cobra" or "The Colonel".

Green: To win the green jersey, first you must create the universe. Sagan said that. Carl. The REAL one. This guy? Nope. You know who's going to win, that Manx ***t. A man who speaks the English language as though he's got half a hot dish of peas and mash pounded into his piehole. Sagan? Mustard? I don't care if he's Mohammed... I'm hard... Bruce Lee. It's gonna be Cavendish and you know it, even if the guy has the same name as a banana.

\Polka Dots: You picked a Cofidis rider... I say it's gotta be an Italian who you never thought would actually show up at the tour and then wins it with a little extra help... obviously, it's going to be Mario Balotelli. Also, http://i.imgur.com/QDXjo.jpg

White: Honestly, your selection of this guy can't be quibbled with, which is a shame because from past experience, and having been in a hot tub with me, you know how much I love a good quibbling.

Amgen Most Coura... wait. You're making this jersey up, aren't you.

Let my people go.

Dan wasn't supposed to be here; I thought he was dead. Drew was supposed to...one thing led to another and...

Mark suggested I write this for inclusion since Drew is too busy doing something or other. So here it is, Drew's Prediction Post...

--------------------------------------------------

So, Drew said he is "just too backed up" to be able to provide predictions about the Tour. Being the solid friend that I am, I have decided to provide his input on his behalf, without his knowing about it. That is what friends do for other friends. I would also caution Mr. Drew that eating a whole wheel of cheese for lunch will tend to cause that to happen.

Some of you may not know me. I'm not around very often - at least not that you'd notice. I'm the bump in the Cafe's night. I have my own Fans. At one point, Ricardo Ricco broke my heart and I had quite a few things to say about it. Most importantly, I contributed the mascots Txirla and Savant. So I think I know what I'm talking about.

So then, the winner of the Mailleau Jaunne (or however the hell it's spelled). Totally clear on this one: um... hell, is Predictor-Lotto still a team? Ok, how about a Schleck. Either Crashy "Dit ees en drama" McDoodsmak or his younger clone The Boy Who Once Wore White. One of them has got to still be racing.

Now, moving on to the Mailleau Vert. That little Manx ***t. Him. Don't even look at anyone else. This guys huevos are made of napalm. Say it out loud... say it proud: Huevos de Napalm. (No... really... say it out loud. It has good mouth feel!)

There's another thing right? The polka dot jersey? So... lets... go... with... Ricky Bobby. Why? This is why: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZIbwwGSC4A

White jersey... white jersey... white jersey... I don't have a clue. Seriously. Not one clue. But everyone knows Drew didn't either, so don't bitch.

Now then, final podium...

Top Shtep: The aforementioned Schleck (Crashy or Schlecklet varietal)

Middle Shtep: Cadel Evans. Or maybe his dog.

Third Shtep: Frinking

Send all complaints about the above directly to management.

Sui rules: Now you owe Jimbo $10.

Jimbo reacts: But surely he owes me twenty dollars!

So Crashdan gets the final word? Hell no. Sui? What you think of Dan's picks? (Note: Sui's critique is in the boxes after the relavent Danism.)

Hey, look, it's Crashdan standing in for Drew. Christ, that's precious. It's also quite appropriate, as both of them are a like small child that wanders into the middle of a season and wants to know what's going on . . .

So, testing the theory about ignorance being bliss, let's see how happy Crashdan/Drew will be one Le Tour is over.

Now, moving on to the Mailleau Vert. That little Manx ***t. Him. Don't even look at anyone else. This guys huevos are made of napalm. Say it out loud... say it proud: Huevos de Napalm. (No... really... say it out loud. It has good mouth feel!)

Cav's huevos may be the issue here. He's had a bit of a rough time of it since dealing with the consequence of unloading them into Peta last year. Might he overcome that? Sure. But Peter Sagan simply gives a silent stare that says – Nie.

There's another thing right? The polka dot jersey? So... lets... go... with... Ricky Bobby. Why? This is why: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZIbwwGSC4A

I don't even know what to say about this. A man who can't even admit his love for crepes, winning in France?

White jersey... white jersey... white jersey... I don't have a clue. Seriously. Not one clue. But everyone knows Drew didn't either, so don't bitch.

See? We've always said that CrashDan was the West Coast Drew.

So then, the winner of the Mailleau Jaunne (or however the hell it's spelled). Totally clear on this one: um... hell, is Predictor-Lotto still a team? Ok, how about a Schleck. Either Crashy "Dit ees en drama" McDoodsmak or his younger clone The Boy Who Once Wore White. One of them has got to still be racing.

Oh.

Just . . . oh.

So perfect. The DNS guy filling in for the DNS guy picks a DNS guy to win!

CrashDan/Drew/Andy: go get your )(@#@ shinebox. Because that's the only thing you'll have to stand on at the end of this Tour.

Okay that's all we got: a true consensus achieved. Yellow: Giampaolo Caruso. Green: Michele Scarponi. Spotty: Baden Cooke. White: Patrick Gretsch. You're welcome.

No need to watch the French Tour. Tour of Austria starts in nine days. 47 days until San Seb!

Until then, we leave you with the true mascot of the Dauphine..Savant!

Savant__medium

EDIT: Using my Editing superpowers, me - monsieur Will - must add my rant thoughts:

Mon dieu, what a useless bunch of predictions. This is the Tour de France, did any of you even mention a French rider? Have you already forgotten that Thomas Voeckler came within a truffle wafer of winning last year. And who won the queen stage up Alpe d'Huez not to mention the White jersey? His team-mate monsieur Holland Rolland, that's who. I don't know why I even read PdC. I Gesink I am going to vomit.

Here are the correct answers my predictions:

Yellow: Holland Rolland. 2nd & 3rd: two boring non-Frenchies (including Ryder).

Polka Dots: David Moncoutié will repeat his brilliant Tour de l'Ain performance on Grand Colombier and I will erect a statue in his honour at the top, next to one of the barrières canadiennes, moo.

Green: Sagan. I am not stupid.

Other fearless predictions:

  • Jerôme Coppel will finish in the top 10, breaking my heart as he suffers la fringale (bonk) on Col de Peyresourde.
  • Française des Jeux will have a rider leading in a doomed break-away 13 time as TV coverage starts.
  • Tommy V. will be awesome. As, obviously, will Bernard Hinault. Enough said.
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