This is an interesting one week stage race. Often used as a crystal ball for the TDF, but I think the past winners tell the tale better. Since the race is only a week, a more aggressive style tends to bring success. As evidenced bywinners like Vinokorouv, Jalabert, and Sean Kelly. There are some unexpected winners like VDB in 98, Boogerd in 99, and Kloden in 2000. These are examples of riders whose success at Paris Nice probably shined too bright a light on them for the Grand Tours.
This race has also been a subject of 2 CSC victories for Julich and Jaksche. Julich's victory was a tactical masterpiece. A one week stage race can be won with one decisive move and then strong defensive riding and they are far more open than a grand tour.
Can Leiphemer follow in Floyd's footsteps and take this race after the TOC (excellent alliteration!)? Maybe this could be a race for Tommy D? T-Mobile fields an interesting team, but it looks like guys building for the Classics. T-Mobile looks like it's sending its GT guys to Milano-Torino. Hard to imagine Boonen not getting a stage or two and can Bennati keep it rolling as Milan San Remo approaches? Stage 5 looks like the king of day where a breakaway could be be dangerous and everyone who ever is in the lead will have to be attentive. The race stays tough til the end with the last stage containing 3 Cat1 climbs.
Either way these are my predictions for the final podium Schleck,Mayo, and Leiphemer.