Inside the Tour with John Wilcockson: Rating the top 20 contenders

  • By John Wilcockson
  • Published Jul. 1, 2011


Alberto Contador (Sp), 28, Saxo Bank-SunGard

Contador at the team introduction Thursday. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL PAVANI

After winning Tour-Giro-Vuelta-Tour-Tour-Giro in his last six grand tours, Contador starts his fifth Tour de France as the outright favorite, despite the unresolved decision on his 2010 clenbuterol positive. He will have psychological problems coping with hostile crowds (he was booed and whistled at Thursday’s presentation and two-thirds of French fans believe he shouldn’t start), and he faces the strongest field of challengers since he began winning grand tours. Contador himself has doubts about riding the Tour so close to the Giro — which was physically draining despite his winning almost unopposed. The early Tour stages, particularly the team time trial, could see him lose time (and perhaps teammates) before the first high-mountain stage on July 14. In other words, he’s beatable.

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