Outrageous Predictions for 2011

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

As well as reflection on the year gone by, us humans are suckers for forecasts for the year to come. This is very common in the financial world where analysts and economists prognosticate. Often their calls sound reasonable but in time the story changes and the prediction is usually way of the mark.

One financial shop realises this, none other than Saxo Bank. Saxo doesn’t try to give too much precision to forecasting stockmarkets or exchange rates. Instead it tries to identify some wild ideas that could rock the world. The point isn’t to offer predictive accuracy, it’s half thought-provoking, half publicity-seeking. Indeed Saxo calls them “Outrageous Predictions”. If you’re interested, you can see Saxo’s ideas here.

Tom looks to the future

Similarly rather than try to predict the outcome of races or other random events, here are some of my outrageous ideas for 2011:

  • Tom Boonen will be back to his best. After injury and minor delusions about time trialling and leaders jerseys, Tomekke will revert to winning classics. The problem here is that this this idea seems outrageous given the passing years, his increasing fragility, the relative weakness of his team and above all, the pressure he has to carry on his Belgian shoulders. He could just as easily retire.
  • The investigation into US Postal ends without anything happening. The paper trail required to produce evidence turns up some interesting information but it is not of a standard that will stand up in court.
  • A bigger name rider like, say, Ivan Basso will chase the Tour de France King of the Mountains competition after realising that it’s better to take this honour rather than chase a relatively unremarkable spot outside the top-5 on GC. Do you remember who finished 8th in July? Exactly.
  • It’s been an open secret that Vinokourov has been enjoying training camps in the presence of a well-know coach and perhaps 2011 will be the year when someone shines a light on the identity of his coach. The final straw for a scandal-ridden team since its inception, his team is blocked from racing and implodes.
  • The Vuelta a España announces that it will become a two week race in 2012, citing a need to revitalise the race against a backdrop of economic strife and vanishing budgets.
curium December 28, 2010 at 2:30 pm

"The investigation into US Postal ends without anything happening. The paper trail required to produce evidence turns up some interesting information but it is not of a standard that will stand up in court."

I don't think this is an outrageous prediction. I would be surprised if anyone was charged with anything as a result of this investigation. I have zero faith in the authorities bringing rich & powerful people to justice these days.

Raouligan December 28, 2010 at 2:43 pm

It's possible that anyone involved in doping could be mistaken about it because of new car smell, maybe AC got himself a new ride during the summer?

Anonymous December 28, 2010 at 7:16 pm

I really hope your prediction of the Vuelta does not come true. Pat McQuaids attempt to neuter cycling in some idea of globalizing a sport rooted with deep traditions in Western Europe will only help foster this.

TheInnerRing December 28, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Curium: we'll see. Novitzky has personally taken down several big names so your worries might not materialise.

Raouligan: I like it! Leather contamination, genius.

Anonymous: geographically Spain is smaller than France and Italy. The Vuelta has less roadside fans and the TV rights sell for much less. Everything points towards it being reduced. But this is the preserve of owners Unipublic and ASO and has little to do with the UCI's agenda.

Ben Hall December 29, 2010 at 12:03 am

It would be sad to see the Vuelta reduced, but it did not compete with the spectical of the Giro or the prestige of the Tour this year…though there was some good racing.

I don't know why but I really dont like the idea of baby Schleck winning the tour, so i hope you are wrong about Basso. Personally i would love to see Sastre or menchov find (especially for sastre, was he ever good enough….is he too old?) some decent form….but that is unlikely . It's gonna be interesting.

Anonymous December 29, 2010 at 6:44 am

Re: Vino, this "mystery coach"'s name wouldn't rhyme with a well-known Italian luxury car brand, would it?

I remember hearing some accusations against him at the time of his Liege win about training on the same island as Dr. Ferrari lived, but I didn't know there was much else to the story. I have to say, Vinokourov's performances this year have sometimes seemed a little too good to be true, especially when compared to athletes on similar programmes who we can more confidently assume are clean, such as Evans and Basso…oh cycling, how you torment us fans…

Anonymous December 29, 2010 at 8:56 am

I like the idea of a stronger rider wanting the polka dots. But the last time this happened we got Pellizotti or Kohl.

TheInnerRing December 29, 2010 at 10:08 am

Ben Hall: the Vuelta has been a bit lacklustre but (and I'm not pointing the finger at you) we should be careful not to dismiss the history and tradition of the race just because it's not been great in recent years.

Anonymous I: it more than rhymes. It would be nice if Vino could be asked why he needs the advice of this particular coach.

Anonymous II: good point there. What I'd like to see is a GC contender making the effort to sneak a few points on the way to a top-10 position, rather than a big name who sits up so he can get in breakaways. Yes Kohl did this but here's hoping it can be done better.

A shame Garmin said Le Mevel is going for the Giro, he would be ideally suited to going for this rather than try to finish high on GC and could liven up the race for the French.

Rick Chasey December 29, 2010 at 2:33 pm

With regard to Boonen –

Do you not think he was at his best in 2010?

I think his excellent San-Remo showing – the way he was playing with the pedals on the hellingen of any Flemish one dayer (bar the Muur in De Ronde..) and a spirited, if a little late, effort in Roubaix showed Boonen at his best in terms of legs. I think he suffered from a) having a weaker team (I think his Roubaix mistake would not have occured had he had a couple team-mates in the important group) and coming up against an absolutely phenomenal Cancellara. It's easy to look tactically and phyisically exposed when you are the favourite without any support.

TheInnerRing December 29, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Rick Chasey: he came close but didn't land the win his form deserved. But it was more the rest of the season didn't go as planned. If April didn't work, nor did the rest of the year. Behind the scenes there is also talk of Lefevere being frustrated with him and other internal problems.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: