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

  • By John Wilcockson
  • Published Jul. 1, 2011

FOUR STARS

Cadel Evans (Aus), 34, BMC Racing

Cadel Evans in the Dauphine prologue

By winning this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour de Romandie and placing second (for the fourth time!) in the Dauphiné, Evans is arguably on the best form of his storied career. He has twice come close to winning the Tour (second to Contador by 23 seconds in 2007 and by 58 seconds to Carlos Sastre in ’08) and he broke his arm the day he took the yellow jersey last year, so this could be his year. And he has stronger teammates for the mountains in Swiss Steve Morabito, Italian Ivan Santaromita and Frenchman Amaël Moinard.

Andy Schleck (Lux), 26, Leopard-Trek
After placing second at three grand tours (2007 Giro, 2009 Tour and 2010 Tour), the younger Schleck brother is going into this race to win. He can climb almost as fast as Contador and he has a stronger team (a good combination of experienced riders and young bloods), but he’ll need a solid lead before the stage 20 time trial (his weak point) to hold on to the yellow jersey. His form has been erratic all season, but he showed signs of good climbing form approaching at the recent Tour de Suisse, and he looks ready to step up this month.

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