Running In Circles
Friday, June 30th
Comments: I love professional cycling. I could discuss it for hours. In fact, I was planning to do a long write-up of my predictions for this year's Tour de France. Then I went to Velonews to re-examine the course profiles for the next few days and discovered this article. Holy crap. No Ullrich, no Basso, no Mancebo. There are so many implicated riders on Astana-Wurth, they might kick the whole team out, and then there'd be no Vinokourev either.
So, taking the shake-up into account, here are my predictions:
The Overall, in order:
Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Cadel Evans.
All three riders are good time-trailists and competent climbers. Without Basso and Ullrich to worry about, they should have no trouble placing high. Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, and Paolo Salvodelli will be in the mix too. I think Vladimir Karpets and Alejandro Valverde will finish in the top ten, but I think either one would do better if they weren't on the same team. I expect George Hincapie to finish in the top ten, but I don't think he's got what it takes to get on the podium.
The Green Jersey:
If he can finish the race, Tom Boonen should walk away with the Sprint Points trophy. Robbie McEwen will nip at his heels the whole way, and Thor Hushovd should round out the top three.
The Polka Dot Jersey:
I don't see anyone challenging Michael Rasmussen for King of the Mountains. I expect Landis, Leipheimer, and Valverde will finish highly, but they're concentrating on the overall, which is a totally different game. Rasmussen will win be by taking maximum points on the early climbs and purposely fading toward the end of the stage so he's not a threat to the overall.
I think Dave Zabriskie will win the prologue. He's a time-trail specialist, Ullrich won't be there to challenge him, and Cancellara stayed home. Bradley Wiggins could grab a high spot, but he never seems to ride as well on the roads as he does on the track. World Time-trail champ Michael Rogers is always a threat, but he hasn't seemed sharp this year. As to David Millar, I don't see him being a factor—you don't knock off two years of rust at the Tour de France.
Agritubel Riders will attack all day, but won't get any results. This one will definitely come down to a sprint finish. I think the riders will be nervous and there won't be much organization at the front. That is the ideal situation for a win from Robbie McEwen; he can follow wheels through a crowd like no one's business. I've heard he's not 100%, but I don't think it will make a difference on this stage since it will boil down to craftiness and aggression, which McEwen has in spades.
Wednesday, June 28th
Comments: I went on a delivery flight tonight. It was originally scheduled for Friday, but it got bumped up. Because of this, there was virtually no one on the plane. This meant I got to ride in the jumpseat. I've never been on the flight deck during takeoff and landing before (not on a commercial jet, anyway). I loved it. I was a bit alarmed when I heard "Traffic! Traffic!" on the annunciator during takeoff, but we didn't collide with anyone, so it was all okay. I didn't get home until 9:30 p.m., but the extra "work" was worth the time in the jumpseat.
Tuesday, June 27th
Comments: I had an appointment with the foot doctor this afternoon. Apparently, my big toe hurts because of inflammation in my sesamoids. The doc made some adjustments to my orthodics, gave me a prescription for a strong anti-inflammatory, and sent me on my way.
On Tuesday evenings, Angie and I have been going to childbirth classes. Tonight we saw the video of women giving birth. Holy crap. I know it's a natural process, but it sure doesn't look like one.
Monday, June 26th
Comments: I've done quite a bit in the month since I last updated. I've gone up to Fairbanks and driven to the Arctic Circle. I've had one of the worst orienteering experiences of my life in Cle Elum. (Since most of my terrible days have happened there, I've decided I'm never going back.) I've had a pretty poor showing at a mid-week adventure race. I did fairly well at the Everett Street Scramble, winning my class and a gift certificate to the Flying Pig. I had a mediocre showing at a mid-week orienteering. And finally, I spent the weekend in LA for a baby shower. Angie and I received many nice gifts, but the travel didn't go as smoothly as hoped, especially for my parents who ended up over-nighting in Portland. That I've made only passing mention of these things is as much a testament to my worn-outness as it is to my laziness.