Levi Leipheimer will start this year's Tour de France as the undisputed team leader of Discovery Channel. That's a hell of a jump up for the man who has co-led the Gerolsteiner and Rabobank teams in the last few Tours.
Not only does he have one of the most all-around powerful teams at his disposal, but he's also got big gun distractions and antagonizers in the form of Hincapie, Popovich, and Gusev, not to mention Spanish sensation Alberto Contador.
Disco will go into this year's race with a different game plan than in years past, but the new plan could suit their talent quite well.
So Levi gets my support on the GC this year, though he is by no means the only one. I'm excited for this race as, in the absence of Lance, Floyd, Ivan Jan, Paco, and other typically strong finishers, the GC is as wide open as it's been in recent memory. I look for big things from Vino, of course, but I'm still not convinced he can hold on throughout the whole tour. I just don't know if he's a smart enough rider.
Valverede could make some excitement on the road, as could Zabriskie. And it doesn't end there. Pereiro looks strong, as does Moreau. And so on.
The whole thing starts this weekend. I just hope I can find a place to watch.