Prediction Game 2021 Women's Edition

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OK, this is both the biggest gamble yet and the most conservative selection yet. I'm almost certainly sacrificing the chances of getting a full podium, in favour of a selection built around trying to guarantee at least PART of the podium - and yet making the biggest gamble of all in selecting the entire Dutch squad except Eddy Merckx. I was tempted, given my opining on the parcours of the road race, to select Lizzie Deignan as it would make sense for such a hateful and horrible parcours to be won by the rider I would least like to see win (of course, we could now get a Kasia-Cille-Demi podium and I will opine to the death about how this shows how brilliant the route design was and those of you that remember me criticising it are suffering from Mandela Syndrome obviously); however, death before dishonour and all that, and Demi hasn't been letting me down yet.

RR:
Anna van der Breggen
Annemiek van Vleuten
Demi Vollering

For the ITT I've played relatively safe with 2/3 the picks especially bearing in mind the hilly nature of the TT. I'm then going to throw a semi-wildcard in there as the Olympics always have the occasional surprise and Imola was pretty hilly too.

ITT:
Chloe Dygert
Marlen Reusser
Anna van der Breggen
 
Looks like RHD and Samu win the Olympics, with their picks being the highest scorers. My hipster pick of Marlen Reusser came up big, but going with van der Breggen over van Vleuten for the Dutch pick in the TT cost me.
BlueRoads really botched the ITT as well.

RhD is our Olympic champion, because Deignan couldn't be bothered to beat Cille in the sprint.

Olympic scores
RhD 2.5+4 = 6.5
Samu 2+4 = 6
Põhja Konn 1+4 = 5
LS 2+3 = 5
BlueRoads 3+1 = 4


LS still holds a good lead, but the gap has decreased slightly.

Overall standings
@Libertine Seguros 32.5
@Samu Cuenca 28
@BlueRoads 27
@Põhja Konn 27
@RedheadDane 26.5
 
Our next race is San Sebastian on Saturday. I will reveal the points system later today.


I have decided to add two extra races to the remaining calendar.

Donostia San Sebastián Klasikoa (July 31)
Ladies Tour of Norway (August 12-15)
Ceratizit Challenge by la Vuelta (September 2-5)
WC Time Trial (September 20)
WC Road Race (September 25)
Paris-Roubaix (October 2)
Ronde van Drenthe (October 23)
 
To avoid another San Sebastian style ***-up (apparently I am allowed to write it without the hyphen), I guess I have to remember to post the rules for the Tour of Norway a few days in advance.

So here they are: You shall pick two riders for the GC plus a stage huntress.
A race win will earn you 3 points, a second place 2 points, a third place 1 point, and any other finish in top 10 will give you half a point.
Additionally the stage huntress will be able to score you 0.5 points for every stage win she manages to get.
 
OK, so for the GC I think Annemiek van Vleuten is the no-brainer pick, second GC rider is a complicated process because there's that big climb in there but post-Olympics and with a lot of star climbers missing so it's tough. Lots of potential picks. Was tempted by Harvey and the heart over head pick is of course Uttrup (the even wilder heart over head pick would be Rossella Ratto, but even I have given up now), SD Worx have an intriguing collection of young riders there and TIBCO have some real potential wildcards, but I think I'm going to settle for experience and consistency, so my two GC picks are Annemiek van Vleuten and Margarita Victoria García.

With the stage huntress, it was a bit tougher as unlike the Giro, the real bonanza safe bet sprinters aren't starting, so the stages could be much more open for breakaways and unexpected results. As a result I decided to get some help deciding on my stage huntress selection, so I'll hand you over to Marty McDonald to explain my selection:
"Thanks Libertine, it's Anna Henderson, Anna Henderson the Jumbo-Visma rider, the Briton Anna Henderson will be Libertine's stage huntress selection, will Anna Henderson. Anna Henderson has been selected because she's been in some really good form recently, has Anna Henderson, Anna Henderson won a couple of stages recently, so Anna Henderson's confidence will be really high at present, so Anna Henderson is definitely a rider to look out for here, is Anna Henderson, and I think Anna Henderson could pinch a stage win here."

Thanks, Marty.
 
Reactions: Samu Cuenca
GC: I would have liked to say Cille, but after what we've seen this year, and even though Cille looked alright in Tokyo, I'm still thinking that Norefjell will suit Cavalli better. So my picks are Annemiek van Vleuten and Marta Cavalli.

Stage huntress: Coryn Rivera. She's been in great shape recently, and she's came close to a stage win in Norway in the past.
Kopecky might be highly motivated after her disastrous track campaign in Tokyo, but Rivera simply has the better leadout.
 

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