The Amgen Tour of California Crystal Ball Gazing
The Amgen Tour of California wraps up and what does it predict for the Tour de France 2012?
and jumped on the first jet out of LAX for Europe. I guess the threat of losing Tour de France titles might drive a person to get out of town ASAP.
Perhaps this drama, combined with what Horner himself described as a bad day, killed his dreams of repeating in California. I'm not sure this ruins his chances of a good 2012 Tour de France result, and I still think he has a top 10 overall in those 40 year old legs. To make that happen RadioShack-Nissan needs to make some adjustments. Frank Schleck dropped out of the Giro and that made Bruyneel grumpy stating in the press that the final Tour roster wasn't set - a not so subtle way of telling Schleck that he needs to get his act together.
I'm going to deviate from my Tour of California crystal ball gazing to state I no longer think a Schleck will win this year's Tour de France. Also, I expect by the Tour to hear numerous rumors that several members of the squad are jumping ship to a stable team. Let me throw this out there - Jens Voigt transfers to Garmin-Barracuda in 2013. He has a huge fan base here in the States and is a proven worker/leader. I say Vaughters needs to dig deep in the team coffers and makes this happen.
David Zabriskie has finished in second place, four times at the Amgen Tour of California. With 100 kilometers of time trialing in the Tour, Zabriskie will undoubtedly be a member of the Garmin-Barracuda Tour squad. Expect Dave to place well or even win in one of those races of truth. The US is holding their national championships this upcoming weekend, so let's see if the reigning time trial national champion can hold onto that jersey.
In third place in the final Amgen Tour of California classification is Zabriskie's teammate Tom Danielson. After taking some time off from racing, the Colorado resident was using California as a barometer to gauge his form. His time trial was okay - finishing in 9th place, 1:07 behind Zabriskie. However, he was able to respond to a super strong Gesink, only faltering in the final kilometers as he started to cramp under the hot Southern California sun.
Having heard that he's pulling down some of his best watts in training, I'm thinking this is the year Danielson moves up the Tour G.C. due to his new found confidence. According to Tom, this confidence is due to a lens from Staar Surgical that is implanted behind his iris, improving his vision - something critical on a winding decent or determining how close to a rear wheel he might be drafting. Tommy D is also heading to Greenville, South Carolina for the national championships - let's see how he bounces back after an eight day stage race.
Levi Leipheimer had circled this race on his calendar. Unfortunately he was hit by a car while out training, fracturing his leg. The recovery was not as quick as he had liked and it was only