Looks like Levi could be coming into the form of his life. TT’ing is better than solid and will be interesting to see how he climbs come the mountain stages at Paris-Nice.
He’d be on a nice salary but this may be his last chance to take a real crack at the Tour.
How long can he go on willing to stuff up that chance to support Armstrong. One mountain stage hanging back to help the old man is going to kill off his chances… is he willing to breakfree?
This may be his last chance indeed, but i'd give him 2011 as well, especially if they up the TTkms. This trend in GTs, particularly the Tour, is killing off the TT-dominant GT rider.
In my opinion, Leipheimer is one of a few who I think can actually beat Contador. Andy Schleck can't do it. The only one who can is a time trial dominant rider over Contador.
Now, Leipheimer may lose multiple minutes in the mountains, but if, just if, he manages to hang on to Contador up the Tourmalet, then I think he can out TT him by 1 minute, maybe more on a super day. Is that a win? Probably not, but he's one a few out there who I believe can actually take back
time on Contador. Maybe not enough for a win tho... but worth an honourable mention I think.
The other guys I think can beat Contador is Evans and Armstrong, but both need to relearn how to time trial. On 2007 form, Evans can win. On 2004, 2005 form, Armstrong can win. Wiggins is still too hard to judge for me. He has no past reference point to judge other than 2009.
Both unlikely, very unlikely really, but Andy Schleck absolutely cannot beat Contador. AC's only weakness is a long TT, and that's Leipheimer's (and used to be Evans' and Armstrong's) strength.
I still pick Contador for the tour win, and it's up to the Schleck brothers to put time into the 'time triallists' if they want to get on the podium. If it's a defensive tour on the mountain stages, guys like Evans and Leipheimer and maybe Armstrong will nudge out the Schlecks.
Having said that, i doubt the Schlecks are gonna make it a defensive tour, so the TT guys I mentioned better bring their oxygen masks because they are gonna have to reach altitude fast!
sorry bout the long post. I think i went in circles there. it's late... and i'm rambling