Man, two stages into this thing and how much has changed already? The Prerace Power Poll contained three guys who probably won't be starting tomorrow, and another few whose chances are fading fast.
1. Tom Boonen ↑
Not spectacular, but surprising nonetheless. This was covered in my winners post, but Boonen is looking like the top survivor from a very rough start to the competition. It would be completely out of character for such a decorated rider, but Boonen may be able to pull off one of those green jerseys where you don't win any stages.
2. Robbie McEwen ↓
A lot in flux here. Will his knees hold up? Can he show more of the devastating burst he demonstrated yesterday? Or is he in trouble? I'd give this a day or two before deciding.
3. Romain Feillu ↑
Who? The Agritubel rider came in fifth in yesterday's scrum and fifth again in today's uphill power-drag. I don't know much about him besides that one sentence. If he can hang with the top guys through thick and thin, he may yet give the better-knowns a run for their money, as the toll of attrition keeps rising.
4. Oscar Freire ↑
Was downgraded for that problem with his bottom, but he seems to be either soldiering on or getting better. 7th and 9th so far shows he's in the game, and if he keeps getting better, look out.
5. Thor Hushovd ↓
Today's crash could totally screw his chances. There are only so many bunch finishes in a Tour, and most maillot vert aspirants can ill afford to take a big fat zero on one of those days. Thor may be OK after landing hard today, but he's stuck on 30 points, 26 behind the leaders. Unless he wins a stage or two fast (not out of the question, given all of the above), he'll just be hunting for one-day glory.
6. Erik Zabel ↑
Somebody has to win the points not being scored by the missing big names. And somebody has to take advantage of the Milram train that can't seem to stop running on schedule, even with no passenger. So along comes Zabel, past 6-times winner and current scourge of ASO. He knows how to score points, even if his potential to move up any further is limited.
7. Sebastian Chavanel ↑
His fourth yesterday looked like a fluke, but the FdJeux sprinter showed up again (10th) today, missing the crash. Kind of a developing story, like Feillu only less impressive. But he shouldn't be ignored for the next few rounds.
8. Bernhardt Eisel ↔
11th and 12th so far. So you see, 50% of life is just showing up. But unlike Feillu's fifths, those 11ths really don't add up after a while.
9. Robert Förster ↔
Let's see if he's unharmed after today's crash; if not, Gerolsteiner will be looking to Heinrich Haussler for the sprints. But Förster was an impressive fourth in Kent, so if he is able to dust himself off and continue, he could pick off a stage someplace.
10. Bennati/Vaitkus/Petacchi ↓↓↓
Down, out, and never even showed. Benna and Petacchi represent a large chunk of stardom lost to the competition, unless you still think Zabel can fill the Milram void. I don't, but at this stage those points have to go to someone. Look for the possible appearance of Danilo Napolitano in this poll next Monday.