Now that the Giro d'Italia is behind us, I'd like to find out who you think will win the Tour de France. Check out the poll at right.
Italy's Ivan Basso (left) certainly has the grease at this moment. He won the 3-week Giro d'Italia with more than 9 minutes to spare over his nearest challenger. He was climbing up the mountains at the final stages with such gusto he looked like he could begin the Tour tomorrow.
How about the chances of Jan Ullrich (right)? The German hurt his knee during early spring training and entered the Giro just to warm-up. He warmed up by winning the individual time trial but fell back and finally abandoned the race in the mountains.
Ullrich was Armstrong's early favorite; then it was Basso.
There are at least two, if not three Americans in the running. Remember Floyd Landis (left), the leader of Swiss-based Phonak team? He won Tour of California, Tour de Georgia and Paris-Nice. Those races seemed so long ago.
How about George Hincapie of Discovery? The US cyclist won a Tour de France stage last year and was on his way to winning the Paris-Roubaix when his steering came off his bike and he injured himself. Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) finished 6th in last year's Tour de France, and seems like he might be holding back a little bit this year.
Who else? Remember Alexandre Vinokourov (right)? He rode with T-Mobile last year, but didn't seem satisfied to ride in support of Ullrich. He attacked when it suited him and finally displaced Leipheimer from fifth place. This year he'll head the Liberty Seguros — make that the Wurth team — at the Tour de France. The doping allegations involving the team, and loss of a sponsor, could pose a huge distraction.
Another possibility could be Yaroslav Popovych of the Discovery team. He was judged the “Best Young Rider” at last year's Tour de France…. maybe he could be this year Best Rider. Another outside possibility could be Paolo Savoldelli. The Italian Discovery cyclist won last year's Giro, but suffered this year due to allergies.