Barring an unexpected mishap or a successful breakaway featuring one of the riders who threatened his lead on the general classification, Tejay van Garderen (BMC) only had to finish the final stage to clinch his first, major UCI stage rage victory. With only a few small climbs and one intermediate sprint, the stage would favor a pack finish. Still, if Cameron Meyer (OGE), Michael Rogers (TST), or Janier Acevedo (JSH) were going to stand a chance of moving up in the race, they would have to force a big breakaway and make it stick, which would require a magical confluence of factors.
Tyler Farrar (GRS) started the final stage but a single point behind Peter Sagan (CAN) in the competition for the green jersey. If the intermediate sprint went to neither rider, the man placing stronger at the finish would take victory in the points classification. Farrar rode the bulk of the tour better than Sagan and there was no doubt he could feel the green jersey close at hand.