This is the final stage of one of the most exciting Grand Tours in years and we’ll be sad to see it end, but I’m betting the boys in the peloton will be thanking their lucky stars they got through it. The red jersey (on the shoulders of Alberto Contador) will be surrounded by his teammates, keeping him out of trouble until the finish of this stage in Madrid. Once the peloton rides into the capital city, they race 10 laps of a 5.7km finishing circuit around the Plaza de Cibeles on the Paseo del Prado, each lap getting closer to what should be a fast and furious bunch sprint. It’s a pretty straightforward finish too, with a hairpin turn just before the flamme rouge, after which it’s arrow-straight and pan-flat as those sprint trains fire up the afterburners.
Sky will undoubtedly want to salvage something out of this Grand Tour by putting Ben Swift into position for the win, but those crafty Argonauts will be wanting to give big John Degenkolb a chance to take the race’s final stage. And look out also for Daniele Bennati, who will be looking to double up on his stage 18 victory. When Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) crosses the finish line today, he will be the only rider this year to complete all three Grand Tours. And that’s something worth celebrating!