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Thursday Thoughts: Predictions are coming!

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Time to start making picks for 2019!

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So, there’s a live thread on the front page for the first time in ages, and the early starters in the world tour are brushing the cobwebs off Down Under. Except Caleb Ewan, who remains be-cobwebbed. Here on the Thursday Thoughts, we’re carrying on as though the season hasn’t really started, an approach that’ll be maintained until Omloop Eve Eve Thursday, as nobody calls it.

That said, we’re definitely starting to think about 2019, and next week’s column will take a look at the Tour Down Under and the lessons to be drawn from all things Antipodean. For the two weeks that follow that, I’ve got some exciting news. I’ve pulled various editors together and asked for their thoughts on the season to come. Most were very helpful. Ursula was difficult, but that’s apparently something to do with pentagrams, blood sacrifices and double restriction rites, so I stopped asking questions.

Anyway, in a fortnight you’ll be able to read the predictions for the biggest races of the year (Flanders and Roubaix, the three Grand Tours, and the World TT and Roads) and the week after that, you’ll be able to read our predictions for some season-long awards that I made up. This is your chance to play along! You can find the list of awards below – simply put your responses into the comments and I’ll include them in the final spreadsheet when that comes out.

You’ll also get your chance to see what six brave souls (the prognosticators, incidentally, are Shawn, Jens, Ursula, Chris, Conor and m’self) have to say in defence of their picks, as there’s an argument ongoing in an email chain as I write this. Someone has suggested a fight, and there are frequent references to underwear and one use of what I believe is known as the Oedipal expletive. I’m genuinely not making any of that up.

I’ve been following buzzfeed, so allow me to give you some tasters:

  • You’ll never guess which of us has picked a 24 year old to win the Tour on debut, and which rider it is!
  • Gasp as you discover that four of the six of us have picked the same rider to win Paris-Roubaix, and it isn’t who you think!
  • Scientists are astonished that we’ve picked six different winners of the “Becomes a Star” award. Find out why!
  • I’m in trouble with Chris for a prediction I didn’t make! Will our relationship survive?
Spoiler: none of us see this scene recurring in 2019
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Those awards in full:

Races:

  • Flanders
  • Paris-Roubaix
  • Giro
  • Tour
  • Vuelta
  • World TT
  • World Roads
Does Jens foresee a repeat? No, he does not.
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Season-long awards:

  • Best bunch sprinter
  • Best pure climber
  • Breakout classics rider
  • Breakout sprinter
  • Breakout GT rider
  • Becomes a star
  • Become a superstar
  • Biggest letdown season
  • Best team
  • Better than expected team
  • Rider of the year

Have fun. Once we get to the end of the year we’ll definitely look back on these picks. How much attention we give it depends on how well I do, obviously. The more of you that join in, the more fun we can have with this. It might even become statistically interesting.