Seems like only yesterday I was guaranteeing American-Swedish domination of the race. How'd that work out? Let's compare notes...
1 Bert Grabsch
Podium Cafe said: "If the hill isn't a factor, he could sniff the podium. But that's a big "if"." Verdict: Replace "sniff" with "straddle" and "big 'if'" with "virtual certainty" and you've got a spot-on call.
2 Svein Tuft
Podium Cafe said: "Looking for a HUUUUGE upset." Verdict: Mission accomplished. But I refuse to take any hits on this call. Nobody saw this coming, not even his mom.
3 David Zabriskie
Podium Cafe said: "Call me biased... but I really hope he wins." Verdict: Candor doesn't make for an especially useful preview. However, my point system had him third. Booyah!
4 Levi Leipheimer
Podium Cafe said: "The heavy favorite. Nuf ced." Verdict: See Tuft, Svein. Actually, in my more detailed discussion I raised the possibility that he'd be past his peak. Unfortunately, I quickly dismissed it.
5 Gustav Larsson
Podium Cafe said: "#2 dossard = truly serious contender." Verdict: Warning: taking cues from the UCI can be hazardous to your health.
6 Stijn Devolder
Podium Cafe said: "Surprise me!" Verdict: Actually, I had him ranked tied for 7th, a call I can take responsibility for.
7 Tony Martin
Podium Cafe said: "Should be a good learning experience... by which I mean, he won't likely win." Verdict: Technically true. Move along, pay no attention to those point scales...
8 Janez Brajkovic
Podium Cafe said: "[crickets chirping...]" Verdict: Not to sound defensive, but if you Google "brajkovic" and "time trial" I doubt you'll come up with much from September 1 to yesterday.
9 David Millar
Podium Cafe said: "In the mix, though not likely on top of it." Verdict: Spot on! Cheerio!
10 Sylvain Chavanel
Podium Cafe said: "A stretch, but he shouldn't surprise people anymore." Verdict: Vérité!
11 Vladimir Gusev
Podium Cafe said: "I can't think of an unhappier prospect than a Gusev win right now." Verdict: And there was much rejoicing...
12 Michael Rogers
Podium Cafe said: "He'll be top 10, but probably out of the medals." Verdict: Can I get a mulligan? I should stick to less transparent predictions.
13 Marco Pinotti
Podium Cafe said: "Anywhere else, he'd be lucky to crack 9 points." Verdict: Actually, this is where he belongs, even if I had expected him to exceed his class.
16 José Ivan Gutiérrez
Podium Cafe said: "OTOH, he's Spanish, and we all know what that means these days." Verdict: That he's a great cook?
21 Edvald Boasson Hagen
Podium Cafe said: "He might have a chrono title in his future, but will he be too busy chasing other glories?" Verdict: 24 hours later, I'm not sure what this even means.
22 Stef Clement
Podium Cafe said: "I'd be amazed if he had anything left in the tank. He'll have loads more chances at the title though." Verdict: Nailed it! Actually, I'm pretty good at calling the non-winners. Of course, you can only be wrong about one of them, but still.
26 Mikhail Ignatiev
Podium Cafe said: "Not sure why the UCI gave him the #7 dossard. Someday this might make more sense. Wait, did I just say "UCI" and "make sense" in a sentence?" Verdict: Now that's advice you can take to the bank.
38 Frantisek Rabon
Podium Cafe said: "File this name away for now." Verdict: Done and done.