Eurosport - Sun, 04 Jul 14:02:00 2010
The only thing more likely than a Fabian Cancellara win in a prologue is an Alberto Contador win in a three-week stage race taking place in France during the month of July. Or a Lance Armstrong doping controversy ahead of the Tour.
In the most predictable result in sport since England went crashing out of the World Cup to the hands of Germany last week, Saxo Bank's Spartacus not so much slaved his way to victory as merely turned up and put in a typically gladiatorial shift.
We all knew he would do it in Rotterdam – just like we know Mark Cavendish will win stage one, and Contador the Tour.
But the slight difference is that we all appreciate that a high-speed crash or a sudden tumble on the cobbles could deal a fatal blow to the likes of Cav and AC; with Cancellara, however, such factors are insignificant because there is quite simply nothing that can stop him.
Cancellara winning a Tour prologue is a scheduled event in itself – not a result.
In fact, BS had even toyed with the "gamble" of writing his first active 2010 Tour blog prior to the event and filing it to the Eurosport office 24 hours in advance accordingly.
It would have saved him a lot of hassle. You see, Saddles – criminally – missed the opening chapter of this year's Grande Boucle because of an unchangeable prior engagement: the stag weekend of his brother-in-law-to-be.
So, instead of watching the events unfold in the largest seaport in Europe, BS gathered round a campfire in a field near Brighton and twiddled his Tourtured thumbs. He climbed a hill in search of an internet connection – but to no avail. Unlike a Cancellara prologue victory, such an occurrence will not be repeated. From here on in, Saddles is back for good.
Real Predictions: In yesterday's blog, BS peered into his crystal ball and came up with some mildly amusing Tour scenarios, none of which are likely to see the light of day. But when push comes to shove - watch it Cav! - here's what Saddles really thinks will happen.
Overall standings: 1. Contador 2. A. Schleck 3. Kreuziger 4. Basso 5. Gesink 6. F. Schleck 7. Armstrong* 8. Evans 9. Wiggins 10. Menchov 11. LL Sanchez 12. Kloeden 13. Rogers 14. Leipheimer 15. Sastre 16. S Sanchez 17. Vande Velde 18. Van den Broeck 19. Vinokourov 20. Brajkovic * provided he doesn't crash or pull out
Green jersey: Cavendish (but he won't win many friends in doing so)
Polka Dot: Rodriguez (but who really cares?)
Quote of the day: "The prologue is insignificant in the three weeks. I couldn't give a monkey's." Bradley Wiggins plays down the significance of his rain-lashed ride, which saw the Brit lose almost a minute. Really, Brad?
Word of the day: Wiggone – n. to be hampered by adverse weather conditions, usually rain. Eg. "Noah fancied a walking holiday but someone had another idea and he was sadly wiggonesed."
Stage one prediction: Much of the stage one takes place over the polders and dykes of the Dutch province of Zeeland so expect Kiwi rider Julian Dean to feel inspired. In fact, who's to say that Dean, a major component in the Garmin train, may not seize the initiative and go for gold if Tyler Farrar's been brought down by some dangerous sprinting by Cav?
Plat du jour: Zeeland is known for its salty delicacies, but enough of that in this family blog. Feast on Oosterschelde lobster, Stellendam shrimp, oysters, cockles, glasswort and sea lavender in the morning, before crossing the border into Belgium and settling down with a bowl of moule frites. All washed down with a glass of Grimbergen abbey beer, brewed near Brussels. Just stay clear of the Optimo Bruno brown variety. . .
Peleton prattle: Which rider threw a hissy fit when he saw his lowly value on the Velogame fantasy Tour game?
Uses for Mark Cavendish #1: An extra alongside fellow angry man Russell Crowe in the Robin Hood sequel.
Follow Blazin' Saddles throughout the Tour on www.twitter.com/saddleblaze.