After applying this format to sprinters, GC men and teams, it's time to turn to the young guys. Now, this first such effort comes with caveats -- the jersey itself is a GC competition, and all we've seen so far are some sprints and a prologue. Also, riders under 26 aren't always well-known, at least by me. So I may make changes if people convince me to, rather than waiting for next week's entry. And after all that, if you still think it's worth reading this post, here we go:
1. Alberto Contador ↑
A mere ten seconds behind his teammate Vlad Gusev in the prologue... not bad at all for a guy with Contador's climbing pedigree. If this means he's here in top form, Contador is a solid favorite to win the jersey, unless working for Levi distracts him too much.
2. Bernhard Kohl ↔
Other than Anton, the only guy who may (?) have a team at his disposal. 19 seconds down after the prologue is nothing. He's one to watch.
3. Thomas Dekker ↓
The biggest star in this group. I only marked him down because he's probably got the best time trial among the contenders, yet he's second after the prologue. The parcours favors him head to head with Contador, assuming they're allowed to ride for themselves.
4. Vlad Gusev ↑
Goose has quite a history so far, it's hard to know what to make of him. He could win the maillot blanc, especially in a year such as this, though I suspect the team won't slot him for it. Off to a fine start, though as a time triallist it's no shocker.
5. Marcus Burghardt ↑
Given T-Mobile's perpetual confusion, it's possible they'll decide to ride for their future classics star. I don't actually think he's a grand tour type, but it's worth finding out. Anyway, he's been in the sprints so far, which is interesting.
6. Rémy Di Grégorio ↓
Being a climber by nature (IIRC), by the end of the Tour, Di Grégorio should have moved at least a few spots up this list. Unless of course the soul-crushing hopes-of-all-France do him in like so many other young French studs. Lagging in 25th so far, though his race hasn't begun.
7. Igor Anton ↓
Ranking 29 out of 30 in this classification is nothing to write home about. But Anton may be alone (for a while) in this category in having a whole team at his disposal. He's won stages in Romandie this year and the Vuelta last year, so the best is yet to come, and his 1.20 deficit is nothing much.
8. Benoît Vaugrenard ↑
Ranking national time trial champ gets some love here, though there are some more all-rounders waiting for him to vacate this spot.
9. Andriy Grivko ↑
Grivko gets a slight nod over Thomas Lövkvist, since Lövkvist is a former Swedish national time trial champion and yet Grivko beat him in the prologue. But Lövkvist placed higher last year. Two high ceiling guys, IIRC.
10. Romain Feillu ↑
He doesn't really have any shot at the jersey; I just put him here because he's having an eye-opening first week. Might be fun to watch for years to come, albeit in the green jersey comp.