I'm happy to say I finally got to watch live action from Varese today, and was pretty interested in what I saw. The women's race was highly selective, and the sight of the consensus-top five strongest riders grinding up the final climb convinced me that this won't be a sprinters' affaire. That said, once they were away and into the finale, the race was decided by a very straightforward sprint, won by Nicole Cooke over Marianne Vos. IMHO that makes Alejandro Valverde an almost overwhelming favorite for the men's race. Almost -- because Italy has a number of riders who could make the finale, and like the German duo in the women's event, having strength in numbers may allow Italy to work over Valverde enough to stop him.
What say ye?