Tour de France Prelude and Predictions

News & Results

06/30/2005| 0 comments
by Gerald Churchill
Bobby Julich (Team CSC). Photo copyright Roadcycling.com.
Bobby Julich (Team CSC). Photo copyright Roadcycling.com.

Tour de France Prelude and Predictions

English philosopher Thomas Hobbes described human life in a state of nature as "nasty, cruel, brutish, and short."

(Cofidis) on the finishing ascent. In Stage 11, expect a break containing riders such as Jose Garcia Acosta (Illes Balears) or Marcos Serrano (Liberty Seguros) to go over the Galibier with enough of an advantage to hold off the groupe maillot jaune .

 

Stages 12 and 13 will be transitional stages. The former will be hilly and will run 187 km from Briancon to Digne-les-Bains. Expect Frenchmen such as David Moncoutie (Cofidis) or Didier Rous (Bouygues Telecom) to try to escape for a win on Bastille Day. The latter will be a 162-km run from Miramas to
Montpellier
. The two stages will be lead-ins for the Pyrenean stages, which could be decisive.

 

 

Stage 14 will run 220 km from Agde to Ax-3 Domaines. The stage will feature two climbs, the Port de Pailheres and the finishing ascent. Stage 15 will be the hardest stage of the 2005 Tour. It will feature six categorized ascents, including a finishing climb. Stages 14 and 15 will end in donnybrooks on the final climb. In Stage 16, the final Pyrenean stage, the riders will breast four categorized climbs within 70 km in midstage. Lance Armstrong, Ivan Basso, Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), Iban Mayo (Euskaltel), and Jan Ullrich (T-Mobile) will battle for victory and the maillot jaune in Stages 14 and 15, while a small group might battle for the day?s honors in Stage 16.

 

Stages 17 to 19 will be for the sprinters. Stage 17 will be a 239-km run from
Pau
to Revel, and Stage 18 will take the riders 189 km from Albi to Mende. Stage 19 will run 154 km from Issoire to Le Puy-en-Velay.

 

 

Stage 20 will be a 55-km time trial at St. Etienne. Armstrong, Ullrich, Basso, and Santiago Botero (Phonak) will fight for the stage win. It will be the final chance to take the yellow jersey or to claim a higher spot in the general classification. Stage 21, the final stage, will be a 169-km run from Corbeil-Essonnes to the
Champs Elysees . The stage will begin as a procession for the winner but will probably end as a battle for the green jersey. Expect Stuart O?Grady (Cofidis), McEwen, and Tom Boonen (Quick Step) to fight it out for the stage win and possibly the maillot vert .

 

Who will win the Tour de France? For the seventh and final time, Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel) will ascend the podium in
Paris
with the yellow jersey on his shoulders. Despite showing signs of lack of fitness early in the season, the man from
Austin
has come around and is ready to race at Tour time. He has undertaken his usual pre-Tour reconnaissances of important mountain passes. Just as important, Armstrong has a strong, experienced team supporting him. It all adds up to a valedictory victory for the Texan.

 

 

Ivan Basso (CSC) is a good bet for second place. The former under-23 world champion finished third in last year?s Tour and won a mountain stage. Basso has shored up the only weakness

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