Peloton Predictions for 2011. Who, what, why not?

Schleck. A tour winner in 2011.

Twisted Spoke peers into the crystal ball to predict the big news for the coming season.

The ball is crystal and carbon fiber, way lighter and stronger than last year’s forecasting orb. The swirling mist and clouds are clearing — we see guys on bikes going really fast…

Schleck wins the Tour de France whether Contador is there or not. It’s time to make little Luxembourg proud. Besides, a third 2nd place throws Andy into ugly territory — Jan Ullrich Lite.

Tony Martin or David Millar beat Fabian Cancellara in a time trial that matters.

Lance Armstrong challenges Federal Agent Jeff Novitzky to a winner-take-all game of HORSE.

The Boss wins easy and Novitzky is forced to drop the dope case.

Riccardo Ricco, the man formerly known as the Cobra but now riding as Mr Squeaky Clean, takes a stage in a grand tour — if he’s invited to one.

Bradley Wiggins doesn’t crack the top ten in the Tour de France but Christian Vande Velde or Ryder Hesjedal does. Karma is a beautiful thing.

Carlos Sastre complains of fatigue all year long. So retire, why don’t ya?

Tom Boonen wins Roubaix or Flanders. After a crappy year, Tornado Tom comes roaring back and not even a motorized bike will stop him.

Garmin-Cervelo wins a classic or semi classic with Thor Hushovd or Heinrich Haussler.

Michael Rasmussen invites Floyd Landis to join him in his crazy Christina watch-designer team. A ticking time bomb but fun.

Vegan Dave Zabriskie eats a hamburger and wins Tour of California, then eats three hamburgers and powers Garmin-Cervelo to a win in the team time trial in France.

Tyler Farrar beats Mark Cavendish in a tour stage and the Manxman doesn’t even make an excuse.

No positive drug tests are reported the entire year. Ha, just making sure you’re paying attention.

Mario Cipollini admits to sex change. (No wonder he hid behind all that “machismo” talk.)

Bob Roll will insist on his nasal mis-pronunciation of “Tour Day Franz” just because he likes to tweak the French. Who doesn’t?

George Hincapie delights his fans with one last dramatic second place. What? He always comes in second.

A slobbering drunk roadside fan will knock over a top rider in a grand tour. This is so overdue it’s scary.

Italian police announce a major doping investigation and then we never hear another word about it.

Alberto Contador receives a gentle three month suspension. “See? We’re not soft on doping,” says the Spanish Cycling Federation. CAS here we come.

Lance Armstrong flies back to Colorado to convince the sandwich folks to rename the race the Quiznos Tour of Colorado or something less obnoxious than the Quiznos Pro Challenge.

Setting a new personal record, UCI president Pat McQuaid keeps his foot in his mouth the entire year.

Igor Anton returns from injuries suffered in last year’s Veulta to win the 2011 edition. His classy, philosophical attitude about his crash while leading the race showed a man to be reckoned with.

Organizers of the Vuelta rename the Spanish stage race the Helta Skelta Veulta because it sounds so cool.

Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish nearly come to blows after a hotly contested sprint. Lead-out man Mark Renshaw steps in and Greipel nails him with a vicious right cross.

And finally, despite all scandals, cycling will remain the most beautiful sport in the world. Rich in history and breath-taking scenery, full of courage, suffering and sacrifice. Oh, and really cool carbon bikes with electronic shifting.

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  • Mark

    "And finally, despite all scandals, cycling will remain the most beautiful sport in the world. Rich in history and breath-taking scenery, full of courage, suffering and sacrifice. Oh, and really cool carbon bikes with electronic shifting."

    Spot on…

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Thanks Mark. It's easy to get dragged down in all the doping and miss the bigger more beautiful picture. Mat

  • Mike

    Matt if even one of the predictions comes through 2011 will be a great year for cycling! All the best for 2011, looking forward to another twisted year in cycling.

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Mike, let's hope my right to wrong ratio is decent. Makes me look like a pro. Matt

  • ridesforbeer

    How did you do last year? Or are we not supposed to ask?
    Sorry, I am new at this : )

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      I was just joking about last year so I don't have a record. NEVER have a record — it can be traced! Matt

  • Henkio

    Helta Skelta Vuelta….Brilliant!

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Henkio, welcome to the new year, buddy. I started called the Vuelta that when I read some rider quote about the Vuelta being the hardest grand tour to control because at the end of the season everybody is exhausted. Plus it's just less organized than the Giro or Tour. Thus I refer to the Spanish tour as the Helta Skelta Vuelta. I hope every other cycling jounalist picks this name up because it might be my one true contribution to the sport. Matt