TDF part 2: The green jersey!

Part 2 of the TDF preview. Today we will be looking at the potential winners of the green jersey.
First let’s take a look at the odds for the main players. This time in stead of 5, 7 contenders. At the moment it is still not sure if Tom Boonen is allowed to participate, Tuesday we will now more.

Look always, the odds come from Unibet.
Cavendish (Team Columbia) – 2.00
Freire (Rabobank) – 4.50
Bennati (Liquigas) – 6.00
Boonen (Quickstep) – 7.00
Hushovd (Cervelo) – 8.00
Haussler (Cervelo) – 22.00
Napolitano (Katuska)– 25.00

At the moment probably the fastest sprinter based on pure speed and power. He also has learned to hang in there on small climbs. The best prove of this is his victory in Milan San Remo.
But he has never finished in Paris in the past 2 tours. Also, he is probably the lesser climber of all sprinters which can be dangerous.
On the positive side the course fits him like a glove with probably 5 or 6 bunch sprints. Don’t be surprised if he takes down at least 4 of them. (15 victories this year.)

He is always there when a bunch sprint takes place. Maybe he doesn’t posses the pure speed to beat Cavendish, but there are 1 or 2 stages where he probably will take points for the jersey, while Cavendish is struggling to stay at the bunch. The finish in Barcelona is such a classic example. 2 victories this year.

He really wants that green jersey but that’s not enough. He is fast enough and is one of the sprinters who were capable of beating Cavendish. Maybe he can do this again this TDF. He also will have no problem getting through the high mountains. The problem is that he did have some health problems in the past year and probably didn’t have an excellent preparation for this years Tour. 3 victories this year.

It all will depend on the verdict of the French Supreme Court. If he is allowed to start he probably wants to prove what he can. But in pure speed he can’t overpower Cavendish. On the other hand he proved last Sunday that he is ready by winning, for the first time, the Belgian Championship. 4 victories this year.

Certitude for the green jersey. Almost always ending in the top5 when it comes down to a bunch sprint and that’s how you win the jersey. Last year he ended second place but Freire has the course advantage. He also has a great lead out with Haussler but that also can be his disadvantage if he fails to get a decent result in the first 2 sprints. He can do it, but I don’t expect him to win the jersey. 4 victories this year.

The lead out for Cavendish but is for sure fast enough to win a bunch sprint if Cavendish is not available. He will only get chances when Hushovd fails or crashes. 4 victories this year.

A real pure sprinter. Didn’t expect to go to the Tour this year but Steegmans didn’t sign the doping charter of the team. So Katuska did not select Steegmans and gave Napolitano the chance. He will end some times in the top 5 but I don’t see him winning a race or the green jersey. Just like Haussler don’t throw your money away. 3 victories this year.

My verdict:
If we are honest and look at the profile of the stages, there could only one big favorite for the green jersey and that’s mark Cavendish. But betting wise the odds are maybe to low for a 3 week race where a lot can happen. He will need to score a lot of points during the 4 potential bunch sprints because the high mountains will come soon this year. Maybe it is not the question if he survives them but how much energy will cost it to survive them. The best bet looks to be Freire or Hushovd. My money is on both of them.


Who will win the Tour de France 2009?

In the next week we will prepare ourselves for the Tour de France.
In this part we will focus on the potential winners and their odds. I will also try to explain why a rider can win it or why not.

The biggest problem is the length of the tour de France. It lasts 3 weeks in which a lot can happen (sickness, falls, etc…). Also we may not underestimate the doping ghost!

In all my posts I’m using the odds of Unibet.

First let’s take a look at the top5.
Contador (Astana) – 1,85
Armstrong (Astana) – 4,50
Schleck A. (Saxo) – 9,00
Evans (Silence – Lotto) – 13,00
Menchov (Rabobank) – 16,00

Why will he win?
At the moment he is maybe the talented rider of the pack. Winning 2 years ago. Last year due to the team doping policy his team was not allowed to participate at the Tour.
He is riding for the best team and probably he of one of his teammates will take yellow after the team time trial. If so it will be though to get him out of the yellow.
Another reason why he will win is that the combined total of kilometer against the clock (not including the team time trial) is reduced to 56 km. I consider for instance Evans and Armstrong better riders against the clock.

Why not?
At Astana he leads the team, but there are also others in the team, who already have won the tour of finished in the top 5. So, it is not sure that if he is having a bad day, the complete team will help him, because others will go for their own chances.
Armstrong will ride a better a better opening time trial and therefore will have a bonus on Contador.

Why will he win?
Well it is simple; he won his last 7 tours. (Still incredible)
He is a better rider against the clock than Contador. He is one of the best friends of Johan Bruyneel. He did ride the Giro as preparation and was getting better and better by the day. And last but not least he has the most tour experience of them all.

Why not?
His preparation was disturbed by a big crash, breaking his collar bone.
He is already 38 years old. If he wins, he will be the oldest rider to win the tour.
He is not the number one in the team, which is Contador.
He was out of competition for 3 years!

Schleck A.
Why will he win?
Well to be honest I don’t see Andy Schleck winning the tour. I do see him within the top 5. He did great last year, winning the white jersey and ending in 12th place overall. He could however profit from Cancellara in the TTT.
Probably he will win the Tour de France eventually, but I don’t expect it to be this year. Maybe in 2011.

Why not?
There are not enough finishes on the top of the mountains. Only 3.
He is a good time rider but not good enough.

Why will he win?
He is in good shape and after so many places this could his year. A good example of this is that he did beat Contador in the Dauphine.
No question about it, every one within the team has to ride for Cadel.

Why not?
His team. Pff, such a good rider but almost always alone in the mountains. Also he will loose a lot of time in the TTT. Probably too much to make up.

Why will he won?
He did win the Giro so he is in good shape.

Why not?
He did win the Giro
Just like Evans he will loose time in the TTT.
He is not an attacking rider and will have to do this to capture the yellow jersey after the TTT.

My verdict:
Everybody thinks that Contador will win the Tour (look at the odds), but I think that there is bigger chance that he won’t. Better value bets will be Evans of even A. Schleck.
My buck will be one Evans, with a return of 13 to 1.


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