It's only March, nowhere near July, yet... I can't help but speculate on form.
Let's look at the Paris Nice final GC:
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel 29.55.22
2 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.26
3 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0.42
4 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Lampre-Fondital 0.49
5 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 0.57
6 David López García (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 1.00
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto 1.01
8 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 1.08
9 Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 1.12
10 Joaquím Rodríguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 1.22
11 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Crédit Agricole 1.29
12 Sébastien Joly (Fra) Française Des Jeux 1.36
13 David Millar (GBr) Saunier Duval-Prodir 1.46
14 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
15 Patxi Vila (Spa) Lampre-Fondital 2.10
What can we say? Disco look strong, with multiple stage winners on song and not only several GC contenders but a GC winner as well. Hmmm. Too early in the season, or just demonstrating their options for July?
Evans looks strong in what must be just his first race of the year (is it?). Great work in the mountains and 7th overall. Hmmmm. Without really trying? Schleck also looks ominously good for similar reasons, as does Millar for that matter.
Contador is obviously flying, and Disco clearly have some stars that can pace themselves throughout the season. Rebellin is getting back to the form we know he can achieve, so expect a big result soon. Ahhh, so easy to speculate, so hard to do.
CN reports on Paris-Nice here and BTW Pez has a nice set of pics on that similarly important form-guide, Tirreno Adriatico.