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Tour Predictions: The Rule of 21 says that the Tour will go down to the last day.

With less than a couple of dozen days before the Tour de France rolls off from Rotterdam it's time to consider how it's all going to work out.

Now there's all sorts of different ways of doing this.

You could write loads of names on loads of scraps of paper, shake em all up in a hat, close your eyes and pick one out at random and declare him the winner.

You could be parochial about it and declare that a rider from your own country is going to do the biz come July 25th.

You could be a total statto and key all the riders and all their performances so far this year into a speadsheet and then close your eyes and pick a row and column at random, declare that rider the winner and creatively interpret the evidence to support your claim.

Or you could, like me, put your faith in the hard facts of empirical evidence, as collated by the Dept Of You Can Prove Anything With Statistics, A Spreadsheet And Some Sticky-Backed Plastic:

In 1989 - as all cycling fans recall - Greg LeMond won the Tour de France on the last day, beating Laurent Fignon and turning a fifty-second deficit at the start of the day into an eight-second winning margin at the day's end.

In 1968 - as most cycling fans recall - Jan Janssen won the Tour de France on the last day, beating Herman van Springel and turning a sixteen-second deficit at the start of the day into a thirty-eight-second winning margin at the day's end.

In 1947 - as some cycling fans recall - Jean Robic won the Tour de France on the last day, beating Pierre Brambilla and turning a two-minute-fifty-eight-second deficit at the start of the day into a three-minute-fifty-eight-second winning margin at the day's end.

These are the only times in the Tour's post-war history that the Tour's victor was decided on the very last day of racing.

Now here's the maths bit:

1947 + 21 = 1968;

1968 + 21 = 1989;

1989 + 21 = 2010.

Incontrovertible evidence, I think you'll agree, to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Rule of 21 exists and that this year will also be a year in which the Tour will not be decided until the last day.

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