Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervélo)
In 2008, the Chicago native was the revelation of the Tour, finishing just one spot off the final podium in fourth. But instead of building on that monumental effort, Vande Velde has spent most of the ensuing years battling a rash of crash-caused injuries. Finally, this year Vande Velde has avoided unscheduled trips to the tarmac, and after a recent Colorado training camp, he told insiders his form was as good as it’s been in years.
Vande Velde (along with Danielson and Hesjedal) is one of three Garmin-Cervélo riders who could contest for a high GC placing, or even a stage win. He’ll just have to hope his run of good luck continues. Remember that last year, he crashed on the second stage and was forced to abandon the race.