It's theoretically possible to win the Tour de France without winning any stages. But has this ever happened?

What about the other Grand Tours (Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España)?.


Yes it has in fact happened several times, the most recent ones being 2017 (Chris Froome), 2006 (Óscar Pereiro after Floyd Landis was disqualified) and 1990 (Greg LeMond). Before that, the TdF was also won without a stage victory in 1922, 1956, 1960 and 1966. (see here).

For your second question, Wikipedia has a list for the

Giro (1913, 1946, 1951, 1961-63, 1969, 1971, 1999, 2002, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2015)

and the Vuelta (1955, 1965, 1971, 1976, 1990, 2001, 2009, 2010, 2015).

(To keep to the same format, here's the TdF again): 1922, 1956, 1960, 1966, 1990, 2006, 2017.

So, the Giro has been won 14% of the time by someone who didn't win a single stage, while for the Tour this has only happened in about 6% of cases. For the Vuelta, it's close to 13%.

  • Interesting stuff, thanks. I assumed it would be a very rare event, but it doesn't look that way. – Mike Baranczak May 29 '17 at 1:55
  • Yes, I was quite surprised myself. One in ten Grand Tours, more or less. – Alex May 29 '17 at 8:35
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    I think intuitively it relates to how many climbs there are. if there are more mountain stages, then the eventual winner has little incentives to win stages, as to do so would imply a large effort (it's unlikely for a mountain stage winner to be able to repeat himself the day after). in other words, consistency is key for the overall ranking, whereas exceptional effort is required to win a mountain stage. the stats for the 3 grand tours seem to follow this logic. – mkln Aug 10 '17 at 15:26

It might be possible because the overall winner has to have the best total time. The most plausible way to achieve this is if Clever arrives behind other riders in each stage and if those riders (do him the favour to*) lag behind in the following stages their total time will be higher than the time of Clever. Making him the overall winner. All he needs to do is remain as far in the front as possible.

This year's (2017) overall winner of the TdF, Chris Froome, didn't win a single stage. Which means that the answer is yes!

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    Presumably if Clever was also lucky he could be second in all but the last stage or two, behind a rider that drops out through injury. He could then come second behind someone else. – Chris H May 29 '17 at 6:20

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