Zabriskie is the easy pick, but what's more interesting is how the favorites will finish relative to each other.
First, how will Basso and Ullrich finish? Will Ullrich beat Basso by a significant margin? There was no prologue last year, but here's the top 20 from '04:
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Fassa Bortolo 6.50
2 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal p/b Berry Floor 0.02
3 José I.Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Illes Balears - Banesto 0.08
4 Bradley McGee (Aus) Fdjeux.com 0.09
5 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 0.10
6 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.11
7 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC
8 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Crédit Agricole 0.12
9 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC
10 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal p/b Berry Floor
11 José Enrique Gutierrez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.14
12 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Liberty Seguros 0.15
13 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank
14 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC
15 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC 0.16
16 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team 0.17
17 Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal p/b Berry Floor 0.18
18 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems
19 Viatcheslav Ekimov (Rus) US Postal p/b Berry Floor 0.19
20 Andrea Peron (Ita) Team CSC
70 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 0.29
Will Ullrich beat Basso by 10 or more seconds? What if Basso only loses a couple of seconds to Ullrich? Or what if he beats
Ullrich? Will that be significant in this short of a TT? Everyone knows Basso's TTing has improved... but what really matters is the longer TTs coming up. How significant is Basso doing relatively well in the short prologue TT?
And look at George two years ago
. He came in 10th, only 12 seconds back. Presumably focused on possibly getting on the podium this year, can't we expect him to do much better? What if he
beats Ullrich (and all the other contenders) by 5 or more seconds? Woo hoo!
And let's not discount Levi. He just won the Dauphine 3 weeks prior to the start of the Tour. He should know what he's doing, and, if so, should be in even better form by the prologue...
And what about Floyd? He ran out of gas... or something... at the Dauphine. We'll see if he's fueled up for the Tour by how he does in the prologue. Much to look forward to!