I always wondered what Christian Vandevelde and Chris Horner would do if given the chance to ride for themselves. I always figured that Horner would be the stronger of the two, but I suppose we may never find out for sure since Horner hitched himself to the wrong horse when he joined Astana. Vandevelde has definitely made the most out of his chance to show what he can do, and I hope he kicks everybody's teeth in over the next week or so.
On the other hand, I just can't get myself to root for Cadel Evans. Maybe it's because he comes across as a whining little b!t@# every time he gets interviewed. I know he used to be a mountain biker, but I think he became more and more uptight until he eventually became a roadie by default (man, that was a low blow toward roadies, and for this I apologize... but not so much that I'm going to delete it). Although I've only sporadically been following the tour this year, I've come up with a rock solid theory for what Cadel's problem is: Cadel used to be a hobbit-like creature, but he's now slowly morphing into a Gollum-like creature. Stay with me here for a minute. First of all, you have to admit that there is a vague resemblance to Bilbo Baggins in this picture:
Second, ever since he obtained the the yellow jersey, he's been hording over something like it's "the precious." However, it's not the yellow jersey that is the precious. Instead, it's that little stuffed lion that comes with the yellow jersey. Check this out. Here's a picture of him just before he starts making out with the stuffed lion:
When asked about his affection toward the lion, he replied (and I'm not making this up): “It’s a pretty special teddy bear to have. I haven’t seen my wife for two weeks and I’m running pretty low on affection.”
If you don't think I've proven my point, then here is the clincher. Check out his response when someone tries to touch "the precious." Make sure you watch till then end:
WTF!?!? If you listen carefully, when he is scurrying off like Gollum at the end of his little hissy fit, he's muttering "don't touch the precious... oh, the precious."
From what I've heard, when Cadel is not talking to the press, he's supposed to be a pretty cool guy. What these people fail to realize is that they are talking to him when he is in Smeagol mode rather than Gollum mode.
I wonder if his teammate and countryman Robbie McEwen ever gets the urge to give Cadel a roundhouse kick when he starts whining about something while they ride next to each other in the peleton? With Robbie's impressive bike handling skills, I bet he could pull it off flawlessly: