Bend phenom Ian Boswell, a professional road racer for Trek-Livestrong (a feeder team for RadioShack-Nissan, one of the world's top teams) provided us with his Tour De France predictions. Read on for the inside line on who to watch and where to put your money.
General Classification Top 3
1. Bradley Wiggins: He has the ability, knowledge and team to win the overall. He has essentially won every stage race he has contested this year.
2. Cadel Evans: Once you win the Tour, your chances of winning a second are much better. Evans can not only climb well, he even can be in the mix on some of the flatter finishes after the mountains. However, I think he will be chasing Wiggins around in both the mountains and time trials.
3. Denis Menchov: With a Russian team he can now be a solid contender for the podium. He will have full support from his team, his entire nation, and even Putin!
Yellow (overall): Wiggo
Green (best sprinter): Peter Sagan. I have raced against Sagan since we were juniors and he's always been a winner. Cav will win some stages but London is his highest priority—the Olympics won't be in his home country again in his lifetime.
Polka Dot (best climber): Pierre Rolland. He showed he can ride in the mountains last year and will only be better this season. Plus he's a French rider—he must make his country proud!
White (best young rider): Tejay Van Garderen. I had dinner with Tejay in Italy earlier this year and he is an all round good guy. He will be giving Evans a lot of support in the mountains, but will not be far off the mark.
About Boswell: A season in review and looking forward
Despite an up and down early season, I have had some good results (second in Belgium's U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege and second on the Gila monster at the Tour of the Gila in N.M.). I then went to the Tour of California with high hopes of riding well on a stage or having a good GC. However, the Mt. Baldy day made me lose some hair and some time as well. I then went to Italy for the Baby Giro, a race that suited me well till I picked up campylobacter (ed. note: bacterial infection) on stage four (not fun). Since then, I have been in Bend training hard and planning a few small trips, such as one to Canada for the Axel Merckx Gran Fondo from which I'll bring my teammates home to Bend! I am really gunning for a good performance at the Cascade Cycling Classic as riding on home roads always gives me a little edge on the competition. Following Cascade I am not sure where I will be racing, but our team is hoping to be invited to both the Tour of Utah and the Tour of Colorado but we are not yet confirmed at either. Meanwhile I'll be drinking Thump coffee and continuing to train for the Boswell Challenge at the Taco Stand!