maikel said:I don't think Andy Schleck is that kind of a threat for Contador, because at his best he can only compete with Contador in the mountains, but even there he loses time. And in the TT he will lose probably several minutes. The only way Schleck (both of them) can win is when AC had bad luck or when he is sick. The biggest threat for AC to me is Denis Menchov, a Menchov in topform can possibly rival AC in the mountains, and can compete with him in the time trails.
I tend to agree with this kind of argument. One I also have portrayed here in the forum a while back (can't remember the thread tho). I think contador's key rivals will actually be the guys that can (and have) beat him in a time trial. The only way these guys win is by hanging with contador in the mountains for as long as possible, then try (like really try) to out TT him.
For me, that means guys like Evans, Menchov and I dare say Leipheimer (but he looks way out of touch) or Kloden. If Armstrong manages to TT like in his 7year reign, then he is in with a shot, but that is a HUGE "if". At the moment, I agree that Armstrong is not a top 5 contender, but the less he performs, it actually makes him less predictable.
All that said, I think schleck will push the 'time triallists' too far in the mountains such that he can still lose minutes in the 50km TT and secure second. Frank maybe fifth. Andy Schleck likely gets second in this tour behind contador, but there is no way whatsoever he wins.
Contador can be described as the Lance 1999 armstrong was. "If you win the time trials, and you win the mountains, there isn't much more to do than to win the Tour de France" - a slightly paraphrased infamous commentator's quote.
I voted Evans in the poll