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Thomas Voeckler wore yellow before Andy Schlek.Big Thor Hushovd had it for a while though he's a sprinter....and really smart I reckon .The current favourite seems to be pommie Bradley Wiggins who apparantly is in form at the right time.Frank Schlek might be be a shot he always looks ominous to me,but then I have no idea what I'm talking about and it might just be the brotjer helping brother thing...the Radio Shack team always looks really well organised. Frank probably falls down at the time trial stage when up against Cadel. But Wiggins for me and he has a couple of Aussies in his team along with Mark Cavendish for stage end excitement

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Voeckler?

I bet my right one he leads at some stage this year...well - perhaps that's a bit extreme... I'd put the dough down though.

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That's him. Bit more experienced now. Did ok on some of the climbs, but eventually succumbed to the elite late in stages.

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How long has that big headed spaniard been banned for?

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He's appealing I think so who knows. Sammy Sanchez seems to be thereabouts whenever I turn on Eurosports TV........I suspect the team set up will be what makes the difference in the end even though the pr machine focuses on the leaders......Cadel was quite an old winner last year,he may be 'past it'.......btw I suspect they all need at least a bit of 'big head' and a lot of crazy.....hard head as well just to keep going........a few pills possibly wont hurt and all the other riders seem to understand.Its just the getting caught that upsets their team mates.

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appealing.......... like he did last year and got to ride but was subsequesntly banned and stripped of titles. I hope not again.

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I looked it up. Looks like his ban finishes early August. I can't really see the point in him appealing this late in the game, but stranger things have happened.

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appalling.......... like he was last year and got to ride but was subsequesntly banned and stripped of titles. I hope not again.

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Hun reports Thomas Voeckler is doubtful through injury..

Wiggins vs Evans looking the matchup from here.

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Hun reports Thomas Voeckler is doubtful through injury..

Wiggins vs Evans looking the matchup from here.

Interesting. In a bit of pain I read. Frank Schleck is the other rival to consider. But if Evans gets anywhere near last years form, definite threat to defending his title. The time trials are to his advantage. Just has to stay up on the bike IMO.

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Remembering,and reading about 1964 is a wonderful memory.I dont know that it means the Dees will win on Sunday,though the odds are better than 50/50 I guess. In any case I wouldnt want to be kicking into this Northerly tonight......or riding into it either. If Cadel is a once only winner it seems that he is at least a 'clean' winner

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What is worth mentioning too is Cadel's BMC team this year is definitely stronger than last year's.

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Team support is obviously so important.....lead out riders for the sprinters and domestiques to burn tbemselves out for the yellow jersey chance. Armstrong always obviously had great support and the Schleks always seem to threaten just on the basis of their partnership. Even last year Cadel seemed to be doing a lot of the work himself,though he had varicose vein man to help him. I hope you're correct that BMC is even stronger this year....another year older ,the lad is going to need support.

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Remembering,and reading about 1964 is a wonderful memory.I dont know that it means the Dees will win on Sunday,though the odds are better than 50/50 I guess. In any case I wouldnt want to be kicking into this Northerly tonight......or riding into it either. If Cadel is a once only winner it seems that he is at least a 'clean' winner

After I read the Wiggins article I actually started to go through in Wiki the winners and the guys caught and there is very few "clean" winners in what seems like a long time....

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Team support is obviously so important.....lead out riders for the sprinters and domestiques to burn tbemselves out for the yellow jersey chance. Armstrong always obviously had great support and the Schleks always seem to threaten just on the basis of their partnership. Even last year Cadel seemed to be doing a lot of the work himself,though he had varicose vein man to help him. I hope you're correct that BMC is even stronger this year....another year older ,the lad is going to need support.

From Sydney Morning Herald. Apologies for lack of link....iPhone :-

London: Cadel Evans says his BMC Racing Team named on Tuesday for the Tour de France is stronger than last years and knows he can retain the title.

The 35year old Australian will have the support of Americans George Hincapie and Tejay van Garderen, Briton Steve Cummings and Belgian ace Phillipe Gilbert, plus Germany's Marcus Burghardt, Amael Moinard of France, Italian Manuel Quinziato and Swiss rider Michael Schar.

Burghardt, Hincapie, Moinard, Quinziato and Schar helped Evans triumph in last years Tour, and seven of the eight raced together at this months Criterium du Dauphine - where Evans finished third behind Bradley Wiggins, his main rival for glory in the Tour.

Team director John Lelangue made it clear the riders were selected solely to support Evans in his bid for a second Tour triumph in the three week classic, which starts on June 30.

"We have an objective: to defend Cadel's title and bring him to the podium in Paris," Lelangue said. "Everyone will know clearly what their job is during the three weeks of racing. Our roster has a really good balance, especially considering the parcours."

Evans said he was delighted with the strength of the team.

"I know now that I can win it and my lead-up this year is nearly identical to what we did last year," he said. "We're bringing an even stronger team to the Tour this year and the route would seem to favour me."

"The time trials will change the dynamics of the race and some of the tactics of my rivals. But like last year, I'll go to the Tour with my own plan, to ride my own race."

American Brent Bookwalter and Steve Morabito of Switzerland have been named as the teams reserves.

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Thats good to know..I read recently that Gilbert sledged Cadel ruthlessly back in about 2005, in his first tour, when he brazenly joine a break away group...told him to 'F off'. Evans ignored him and the two were enemies for some years.

No longer apparantly and now that he's a proven winner they will all be riding to support him.

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Thats good to know..I read recently that Gilbert sledged Cadel ruthlessly back in about 2005, in his first tour, when he brazenly joine a break away group...told him to 'F off'. Evans ignored him and the two were enemies for some years.

No longer apparantly and now that he's a proven winner they will all be riding to support him.

Haha I have never understood the "politics" in the peleton they seem like a bunch of chemical children.

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Did anyone see De Gant plunder the field in the Giro Italia? He made a nearly 10 minute turn around on the race in one stage,first on the flat then he broke away and buried them in the brutal climb to a snowy finish and penultimate Stage win.He's a gun Time Trialer as well apparantly and his form recently has been a quantum step up over previous years. Maybe a smokey for the Yellow Jersey in Le Tour.

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Did anyone see De Gant plunder the field in the Giro Italia? He made a nearly 10 minute turn around on the race in one stage,first on the flat then he broke away and buried them in the brutal climb to a snowy finish and penultimate Stage win.He's a gun Time Trialer as well apparantly and his form recently has been a quantum step up over previous years. Maybe a smokey for the Yellow Jersey in Le Tour.

Smokey you say??? As I've said I really love watching the event but every time a smokey comes out there is the thought of uh-oh what is he on.

But no I did not see that one, massive turn around, 10mins!

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Yep I immediately thought it was a chemical powered assault myself but the commentators ran through his years results and you could make a case that he was just 'stepping up',breakout year and all that. Who knows? I assume they all have dabbled at some stage ,they all know it and they have their own secret set of 'rules' over whats right and wrong. Getting caught is wrong because the whole team suffers and the sponsors are right [censored] off. A bit like with Tiger in the golf. Lance would be vilified because of the effect on the sport as a whole, unlike deadset cheats like Contador who are just small fish at the end of the day. Of course the Great Eddie Merkxx (sp?) was caught but that was way back when and everyone is happy to ' forget' about it. ........Matt Goss announced as Green Edges designated sprinter with Stuey O'Ogrady doing a Junior MacDonald to keep the new team organised

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The 3 week tour is a whole other tour IMO, where teams build up and plan for it. Big teams such as BMC will work together to pull back any breakaways.

He may well be a smokey, but he'll have to reproduce again and again under the toughest of conditions to conquer.

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You're probably right,.I couldnt work out what team De Gante was riding for anyway because he was just grinding up the mountain solo,having left the leaders and his team mates wobbling in his wake.

All the talk is Evans v Wiggins but there is always a wildcard and all the obvious ones might crash at any time.Toughest sport outside of the real Rugby I reckon, but even so injuries do matter

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