Man, talk about a war of attrition: 250km over some slightly rolling terrain, in mid-October. Obviously Paris-Tours is an important race, and the sprinters haven't had much fun in a while, save Paris-Brussels, so there will be some pretty keyed-up racing. If they can get to Tours intact, this race will come down to a bunch sprint for glory. But the conditions are ripe for a breakaway, and there's a pretty solid history of such tactics working. The result: about 30km or so of a really good chess match, with at least half the teams involved.
Teams desperate to maintain order: Liquigas (Bennati); Quick Step (Boonen, Allan Davis); Rabo (Freire); Silence (McEwen); Milram (force of habit).
Teams looking for a free ride from the teams in the first category: this category consists of teams who can win in a bunch sprint but probably won't feel overly compelled to do the work, if only because they KNOW the names of 4-5 teams who are sure to take over. Reason number 4,238 to love cycling: the way every team's strategy is in part a reaction to the strategies of at least five other teams. Anyway... Columbia is in here: with Eisel stepping in for Ciolek (ill), they can stick someone else on the front for a change. Garmin, I suppose I'd like to see them focus on getting Tyler Farrar in the final sprint, but like Columbia they won't have to chase down breaks for that chance. Euskaltel (Fernandez), AG2R (Usov), Cred Ag (Renshaw) and Gerolsteiner (Haussler) will be looking for an escort to the last km too.
Teams bent on madness: This is the list of teams which can and should be looking for the right escape: Cofidis (Nuyens), FdJeux (Gilbert!), Lampre (Ballan), CSC (pick a name); Tinkoff (Ignatiev?) and well, everyone else.
Should be fun. Video at Eurosport, probably other sources. Check Cyclingfans.com ASAP!