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TdS Stage 9: Can He Do It?

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Suisse-cheese_mediumNormally I'd have delivered a post like this in a more timely manner, but I've been trapped under heavy objects all weekend. Moving objects. Ages 3 and 6... whose mother is at a yoga retreat. So last-second it is. Hopefully a few folks will see this when they login for the stage. I'll keep it brief.

The object is to predict whether Robert Gesink can hold off any rivals in a time trial. Right now the standings are:

  1. Gesink
  2. Uran, at 0.29
  3. Morabito, at 0.36
  4. F Schleck, at 0.38
  5. J-Rod, at 0.42
  6. Carrara, at 0.54
  7. Dark Helmet, at 0.55
The course: 27km with some 200m of rise in the early going, but no apparent grades of consequence. It's an out and back loop, so winds should be give and take. Not a lot of seconds available here, so it will take something special. Some data points:
  • Gesink recently lost 36" to J-Rod in a 22km time trial at the Pais Vasco. This course had 1500 feet of climbing, a good bit more vertical than today's stage. Also, Rodriguez was headed toward a peak of form, while Gesink was kind of messing around. Close call, with Rodriguez at 42", but I think Gesink is OK here.
  • In general Gesink seems to finish around the top 30 for most short time trials, finishing behind the established cronomen but otherwise in the game. So are any of the guys between Gesink and glory "established cronomen"?
  • Uran should not be a threat. He bailed on the crono at the Pais Vasco, which would've been an excellent indicator. Probably for the best; he's only saved face at the Plan de Corones, not much of a data point for today.
  • Morabito is equally undistinguished. He often finishes in the 30th-40th place range, except for last year's TdS finale when he ran 110th. 
  • Frank Schleck might be a worse time trialler than his brother.
  • J-Rod has been strong on the time trials this year, though prior to then he was terrible.
  • Carrara likes prologues. This is too long to play into his strengths.
  • Lance is who he is. Bit of a mystery, but at least here Lance in his prime wouldn't be in line to make up nearly a minute.
So my money stays on Gesink. Thoughts??