The Tour is quickly approaching, and while the odds makers are picking their favorites, here is my $.02 on how the Tour will shake down. Basso will dominate, not because of his performance in the Giro, but rather he has been groomed for years for this moment in time, which was also why he walked away last month w/ his first grand tour. Bjarne Rijs is a mastermind leader, which is how he won his tour ten years ago, and how Jan Ullrich won his. CSC is so strong, the others will be left in awe.
Jan will be either second or third, but I don't like to sit on the fence, so he will finish 2nd. His demons continue to haunt him, he does not have the deep down burning in the gut desire to win, nor does he have the resources at hand. He is still one of the best riders in the world, but will go down in history with the likes of Fignon as a man who 'lost' the tour.
Cadel Evans will eclipse Michael Rassmussem as the highest ranked former mountain biker in the field. Strong climbing and TT skills will see this Aussie land on the podium.
George Hincapie back from injury will be the spoiler for many in this year's tour, look for him to grab a stage win, be the best American, and be the new leader of Discovery. 4th for Georgie.
5th will go to Leipheimer, as Levi continues to be a threat, but not quite there for a grand tour win. Levi is a great week long stage race, but usually has a bad day in a 3 week event.
Valverde will land himself a 6th place if he can stay in the race.
Mayo will climb his way back into the top 10 w/ a 7th.
Rassmussen will be 8th, poor TT's will hurt his chances for a better finish.
Popovich will begin to realize his potential with a 9th.
Rounding out the top ten will be Zabriske.
Landis will not finish the Tour, his over-preparation and trying to dismantle the unstopable Basso will eliminate him from the running, making an embarrassing departure remminisant of Hamilton's departure in his last tour.
There you have my Tour predictions, enjoy and Viva la Tour!