Handicapping Le Tour

A confirmed bike nut such as myself would be thoroughly remiss if he didn’t take the chance to comment on the Tour de France. So, here’s my take on the Grand Boucle:
For the general classification (Yellow Jersey):
Lance Armstrong – amazingly, the “safe bet” for a hors categorie seventh consecutive win. Though he’s had fewer racing days than in any recent year, there’s no sign that his form has suffered. If Le Boss makes it to Paris, he’ll be on the top step of the podium. However, he’s not guaranteed to make it to Paris. I wonder if he’s used up his racing luck over the past six years.
Ivan Basso – revealed vastly improved time trialing skills in this year’s Giro d’Italia but succumbed to a stomach problem that cost him huge amounts of time in the mountains. Assuming he stays healthy and shiny-side up through the first week, he’ll be Lance’s biggest threat.
Jan Ullrich – Lance perpetually identifies Der Kaiser as his closest rival, but he has not shown the requisite ability to attack on steep mountain passes. T-Mobile has made a show of focusing on the GC win, dumping former multiple green jersey winner Erik Zabel from the Tour team. But I simply don’t think the formula will work.
Alexander Vinokourov – Ullrich’s erstwhile lieutenant is more likely to land on the podium than he is, in my estimation. He had a convincing stage win on Mount Ventoux at June’s Dauphin