Friday, January 30, 2009
The Tour of Qatar begins on Sunday, February 1, and EP, as we are wont to do, would like to come forward with five wild predictions ahead of the race. In reality these predictions won;t come true, but wouldn't it be cool if they did?
1. Mark Cavendish wins every single stage and wears the leader's jersey wire-to-wire. Of all of our wild predictions, this one is actually the most likely, as Cavendish looks to be on the precipice of dominating greatness after a coming of age 2008. One thing's for sure: His entire Columbia team will be lending their full support to him for the duration of the stage race.
2. Wauter Weylandt wins more stages than teammate Tom Boonen. Weylandt seems one year away from jumping to another team to assume leadership duties. He is a tough one day rider built in the mold of Boonen. Wouldn't it be cool if he found a way to sang a stage?
3. Juan Antonio Flecha and Nick Nuyens come to blows during the team time trial, and both are booted off team Rabobank before the season even gets started. While they probably won't duke it out with fists, expect a palpable tension amongst the two classics hopes throughout the year, beginning at Qatar.
4. Leif Hoste finishes in second place on every stage. Hoste is a constant runner up, so this too isn't much of a stretch. Plus, like Flecha, he'll be dealing with the arrival of a younger, more promising classics hope in Philippe Gilbert. Qatar may be his only chance all year to get a 2nd place finish as he'll be riding himself into the ground for Gilbert at Flanders and Roubaix.
5. Filippo Pozzato fails to win a stage at Qatar, and then shaves his head so that he is more aerodynamic for future races. The pressure is on for Pozzato in 2009, after having a down 2008. Plus, the Katusha team wants wins now, and if Pozzato doesn't deliver he may find himself sent to Siberia to break rocks the rest of the season.
So there you have it, 5 wild predictions for 2009. Got any of your own? Comments are open, let em' fly!