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Le Tour... Team Rankings

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The list-style companion to yesterday's post... To be clear, this isn't a ranking of who's going to win, just which teams are relatively better equipped.

Challenger Teams

  1. CSC -- Frickin loaded, at the captain, lieutenant and foot soldier levels.
  2. Caisse d'Epargne -- Like CSC, only fewer captains... and less experience.
  3. Euskaltel -- Also like CSC, with just as much a crunch at the top, but no history of delivering.
  4. Columbia -- My top candidate to move down this list, if they have the green jersey and no real GC hope. We'll see.
  5. Rabobank -- Showed real mettle last year protecting the Chicken. Everyone was shocked. Didn't end well. The lesson is, never try.
  6. Lampre -- Like Caisse d'Epargne, only completely untested at this level.
  7. Silence -- Might move up, though again this isn't about the quality of the leader. Popovych is the key.
  8. AG2R -- The ideal team is shaped like a pyramid, with a broad base supporting a high peak. AG2R are more like a ziggurat. But hey, Dessel will have help.
  9. Cofidis -- Quality at the top... not much below.
  10. Barloworld -- One man show.

Sprinter Teams

  1. Columbia -- A lot of the sprinters teams have loaded up for other priorities. Columbia could well turn their considerable talent toward the stages, which they've already done often this year. Not sayin' green jersey; just sayin... great team.
  2. Quick Step -- I know, I called them stage hunters. But they'll act like a sprinters' team for a while, and it's a role they are used to.
  3. Gerolsteiner -- Two potential sprinters. Nuthin else going on.
  4. Agritubel -- Same as Gerol; you could swap places here I guess.
  5. CA -- Thor is used to going it alone, though as compared to the next few teams, he'll have help if/when he calls for it.
  6. Rabobank -- Freire can expect Flecha and maybe 1-2 others to help him.
  7. Silence -- Evans has talked about absorbing the whole team, but it wouldn't shock me to see Van Summeren or H\o/ste pitch in, out of habit.
  8. Barloworld -- Don't recall Hunter having much help...Uh, Baden Cooke anyone? Time to reshuffle the rankings.

Stage Hunters

You want me to rank the shmucks [sorry, too much blogging] Ranking the stage hunters? I think I'll leave this blank.