Grand Tour Final Day Victories

A Grand Tour has never been closer. Five riders could still conceivably win this race. Any of the five could have a puncture, have a bad day or need a poo at a bad time – which could leave the door open for any of the others to take the overall victory.

The favourite remains Tom Dumoulin. He is the superior time trialist having put time into all of his rivals on the Stage 10 time trial to Montefalco. Every time trial is different – length, terrain, weather etc. But let’s take what we learned from Stage 10 and apply it to today’s test. The table below shows how many seconds per kilometre Dumoulin put into his rivals over 39.8km and how much time this would translate to over a shorter 29.3km stage.

Rider TT Time - Stage 10 Seconds/Km Lost to Dumoulin Projected Time Loss - Stage 21
Nibali 52'44" 3.19 1'33"
Zakarin 52'56" 3.49 1'42"
Pinot 53'19" 4.07 1'59"
Quintana 53'30" 4.35 2'07"

And the following table shows what the resulting G.C. would look like.

Position Rider Time
1 Dumoulin
2 Quintana 1'14"
3 Nibali 1'19"
4 Pinot 1'49"
5 Zakarin 2'04

Of course, this is an approximation based on conjecture. Each rider will be feeling the affects differently of five consecutive mountain stages. Some riders will be better than others at handling a test against the clock after three weeks of racing. But it shows why Dumoulin remains the heavy favourite. If anyone else wins this Giro, it will be a major surprise.

If the stage goes as expected, it will result in the first Grand Tour win for the Netherlands since Joop Zoetemelk won the Tour in 1980. It will also be the first time a rider has elevated himself from fourth to first on the final day of a Grand Tour.

Three riders have come from third to first before – Jose Pesarrodona (Vuelta 1976), Jan Janssen (Tour 1968) and Jean Robic (Tour 1947) – but never from fourth to first. The table below shows the complete list of riders who have taken over the lead of a Grand Tour on the final day.

Year Race Winner Position before Final Day
2012 Giro Ryder Hesjedal 2
2002 Vuelta Aitor Gonzalez 2
2001 Vuelta Angel Casero 2
1989 Tour Greg LeMond 2
1984 Giro Francesco Moser 2
1976 Vuelta Jose Pesarrodona 3
1975 Vuelta Augustin Tamames 2
1970 Vuelta Luis Ocana 2
1968 Tour Jan Janssen 3
1961 Vuelta Angelino Soler 2
1947 Tour Jean Robic 3

There is also the possibility that Quintana does the opposite of Dumoulin and moves from 1st to 4th. This would by no means be the worst capitulation on the final stage of a Grand Tour.

In the 1976 Vuelta, Hennie Kuiper dropped out of the race lead into sixth after the final stage. And spare a thought for André Messelis who went from 1st down to 11th on the last stage of the Vuelta in 1961.

Finally, the only rider to have lost two Grand Tours on the final stage is Laurent Fignon. He ceded the lead on the final day to Moser at the 1984 Giro and most famously, to LeMond at the 1989 Tour. On both occasions these last minute defeats stopped him from taking the Giro/Tour double.

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  1. Jose Osorio - May 28, 2017 @ 2:37 pm

    Most present tours finish in a flat stage with no change in the general classification. What if we consider the last mountain stage as the final stage?

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