Ok, we got Quintana in the lead. He’s got a 39 second lead over Nibbles, 43 second lead over Pinot, a 53 second lead over Dumoulin, a 1:15 lead over Zakarin, and a 1:30 lead over Pozzovivo.
Pozzovivo is shit at a TT, he’s done. But unless he’s REALLYYYYYY bad he has 6th place locked up. Zakarin is behind Dumoulin so he has no shot to win overall, he still has a shot for the podium though. If anyone gets a mechanical the overall win is gone and possibly even the podium. I’m still in awe that the race is this close on the final day, I can’t believe how good Giro 100 has been.
So everyone is saying Quintana needs 90 seconds on Dumoulin going into this thing, since he doesn’t Dumoulin will probably win. That is the most sensible consensus out there, Quintana himself doesn’t think his lead is big enough. I’ve been bolder, saying since the first TT, Quintana will only lose a minute to Dumoulin on the final TT. He still doesn’t even have a full minute, if Quintana has the TT of his life, this race could be decided by 2 or 4 seconds overall to either man! Then we got to factor in Nibali and Pinot, which starts to give me a headache. Nibali will be ON, he will have a good day. I have no fucking clue what we’ll see from Pinot, I’m just gonna guess he doesn’t beat Nibs.
Let’s say with completely random numbers…………Dumoulin does this course in 40 minutes flat and that’s kind of an off day for him. If Quintana does have the TT of his life ideally he’ll finish less than or equal to 40:52, but maybe he finishes 41:00 like the minute I said he needs. If Quintana does that he ain’t losing (much) time to Nibali and Pinot even if both are on good days, so they’d be stuck in the 3-4 spots. A superrrrrr tired Dumoulin not on his best day is only 52 seconds to a minute ahead of Nairo Quintana who will never have a better TT in his whole life? There’s a slight possiblity this could actually happen!
Ok, now let’s see the more likely scenario. Dumoulin crushes it and now we’ll say 40 flat is an excellent time. Then I’m gonna say Nibali (who was 2:07 back on the first TT where I thought he had an B+/A- performance) will lose 80 seconds, so 41:20. Then Quintana (who was 2:53 back last time on a D+* performance) loses two minutes if he has another crappy day, or like everyone’s been saying 1:30 if he has a good day. Let’s say Quintana does 41:30, that means he holds second but Dumoulin wins overall. I’m not trying to factor in Pinot too, I just can’t guess how great or how crappy he’s gonna do! He could be pitiful or in the past he’s beaten Dumoulin outright!!! I think Dumoulin beats him tomorrow by more than 10 seconds so he’s not a factor for the overall.
What scenario does Nibali win? I have a real fear this could happen tomorrow. Nibali would need to beat Nairo Quintana by 40 seconds, do able; and he could only lose…..14 seconds to Dumoulin? That should be pretty impossible, I’m confident Dumoulin can beat Nibali by 14 seconds tomorrow unless he has a mechanical; I’m also pretty confident Quintana won’t even lose 40 seconds to Nibali, because Quintana will have the TT of his life. I don’t want to see Nibali win, I’ll be honest. He’s done too many sleazy things and usually has pretty stupid quotes that I can rarely root for him. I’ll give him credit when he’s looked good, and there are times where he’s just on fire, and I was even rooting for him on home soil in Sicily, but I don’t want to see him win this. I’m just waiting to see a Quintana or Dumoulin win before I declare this the best Grand Tour I’ve ever watched, if Nibali wins I’m going to try to come up with accuses for why this was not.
Quintana or Dumoulin needs to win this, because in ten years they will be known as eternal all time greats. Nibali and Pinot probably won’t. Nibali at best will have a top 5 spot in Italian cycling when his career’s over and just outside the realm of eternal greats, and Pinot only has a chance to be a great if he can end the French Tour drought. Quintana and Dumoulin will win at a minimum ten Grand Tours between them, maybe 15 or 18! Quintana will be on lists for greatest climbers ever, while Dumoulin will be on lists of greatest TTists ever; one of them will pull off a Giro-Tour double, hell maybe even a Giro-Tour-Vuelta triple! Nibali will be remembered for fine victories on big stages (in grand tours, monuments, and Worlds/Olympics), but I personally will never forget his lack form with no motivation that always he carries throughout the rest of the season: for me no matter his Grand Tours success his “smoking cigs” out of shape form holds him back from being an eternal great.
So who do I think wins tomorrow? Logically, I should pick Dumoulin; and my heart SHOULD say this too. He fucking deserves this win. He’s been the best rider over the three weeks. I’d be very happy if he won. All that said, overall I’ve done a pretty good job predicting this Giro, my podium picks could really come to fruition! How could I pick against Nairo now!!!!!!!! I completely agree on paper Dumoulin should win, but I think Nairo will. He will have the TT of his life tomorrow. 1. He’s in pink, that’s great motivation. 2. He’s got bigger fish to fry, he’s trying to do his Giro-Tour double, he can’t lose it in the first round! Down a rabbit hole: Quintana will have better form in the Tour, he’s only at 95% right now. I’m starting to contradict myself, if he’s only at 95% is he really going to have the TT of his life tomorrow? Yes, shit, maybe a Dumoulin mechanical helps him out too, I already called that Dumoulin would be misfortunate before in this race! 3. I think he’s gonna win, because it is most fun to watch the last man defend in a TT. I watched a video of Fignon’s finish in 1989 and it was cool to see Lemond celebrate as soon as the time passed 8 seconds before Fignon crossed the line, but it wasn’t that fulfilling as a fan. I want to see Nairo come across the line with 3 seconds in hand KNOWING he got it and erupting and cheering right there. I will settle for it being 1 second and tapes must be reviewed and everyone is in discussion and on the edge of their seat for a few minutes, because that would be a great final bit of drama. But I’d rather see Nairo come across the line with a few seconds to spare and cheering. This sounds like really dumb reasoning, but to give myself credit, I’ve made some pretty accurate predictions this race and it’s all been along this “reasoning.” That is because I’ve been realistic about how teams’ and riders’ past outings at GTs and the Giro itself, but I’ve also mixed ideally what I’d like to see as a fan for the most dramatic and fulfilling GT race I could possibly see. Why would I shy away from not picking exactly what I want to see this late in the race, when over the past three weeks I’ve gotten exactly what I’ve wanted?
A Dumoulin or Quintana win will be great either way. I’m picking Quintana, because its what I WANT to see. I picked him at the start, I WANT to see him celebrate across the line, and I WANT to see him do the Giro-Tour double. Meanwhile my heart and head are with Dumoulin and I will be happy for him if he pulls off this likely victory that he clearly deserves!
*I gave Quintana the “+” for the cool bunny hop he had to do.