With the GC candidates getting to fight it out for the Maillot Jaune, the sprinters get to challenge for the Maillot Vert. Points are awarded to the winner of the stage, along with the top 15 on that day. The person with the most points at the end of the Tour is the winner. Simple!
How are points awarded?
The stages are classified into the following categories;
- Class 1 (“No particular difficulty”)
- Class 2 (“Hilly stage”)
- Class 3 (“Very hilly stage”)
- Class 4 (“Mountain stage”)
- Class 5 (“Toughest mountain stages”)
- Class 6 (ITT)
- Class 7 (MTT)
As you can see above there are a lot of Class 1 stages, 9 to be exact. These stages garner the most points for the Green jersey, with 50 points available to the winner of the stage.
Class 2&3 give out a mid-range amount of points, with the remaining classes giving out the lowest.
Intermediate sprint points also contribute to the Green jersey competition, using the same points system as the lowest stage classification. Therefore, theoretically the maximum amount of points a rider can get on one stage is 70.
Seems pretty straight forward, doesn’t it?
Well, not all of the Class 1 stages are what I’d call proper, flat sprints. That’s either because they have a tough climb close to the end (i.e. stage 2), or there is a drag up to the finish. This will reduce the winner candidates on those stages and in my opinion reduce the chances of one fantastically haired German for the Jersey.
Without giving too much away for my more detailed stage previews that will follow, I only make stages 1/6/11/14/21 traditional flat or flat-ish sprints. The others all have some kind of kink or difficulty. Anyway, enough about the points system and stages, onto the contenders!
Five in a row for the defending champion?
In short, most likely!
Sagan has been dominant in this competition over the past few years and I expect more of the same this year. Barring any accident or illness he should retain his crown. However, there will be others keen to impress and I think this could be one of the closest green jersey competitions for a while. When I say close, someone might get within 50 points of him!
Let’s start with the two German powerhouses.
Arguably the fastest man in the world right now, he’ll be targeting several stage wins during the Tour. Especially book-ending it with wins on the opening and closing stages. It’s important to note that whatever sprinter wins stage 1 will wear the Maillot Jaune. An extra incentive if it was ever needed! Kittel will hope for a repeat of the Giro where he was unbeatable over the first few sprint stages. I think he’ll come away with 2 or 3 stage wins at most, but that won’t be enough for him to win the jersey. Furthermore, he was dealt a confidence blow at the German National Championships, losing to Greipel in a sprint.
The Gorilla had an incredible Tour last year, winning 4 stages. He might not be as dominant but he should definitely win at least 2. He’s the only guy who can really challenge Kittel for out and out power, but he can also cope well on drags up to the line. As was proven with his incredible win on Stage 5 at this years Giro. I think he is more likely to challenge for the Green jersey over Kittel and would have him second favourite. His lead-out here looks very solid!
Away from those two, Bouhanni, Cavendish and Kristoff will hope to get involved in the mix. The Frenchman is the most likely out the trio to go well, but he’s flattered to deceive this year, going well at some races but being incredibly inconsistent.
Youngsters Theuns, Bennett and Groenewegen will hope to podium during one of the stages, anything better would be a dream. The young Dutchman looks the most likely.
It would be nice to see John Degenkolb get involved, but unfortunately he still hasn’t recovered fully from the horrible accident earlier in the year.
Aside from “pure” sprinters, there are those who can handle a hilly parcours fairly well.
Michael Matthews is one of those. The Australian has been touted as one of the rider’s of his generation and it’s not hard to see why. He seems to be able to do almost anything. He’ll hope to get a stage win, possibly on stage 2 and take the yellow jersey. However, I don’t really think he’ll be as interested on the flat stages to go for the Green Jersey.
One rider who I think will get involved on the flat stages and really go for the green jersey is Bryan Coquard. The mercurial Frenchman has had his best season so far, winning 12 races (if you include a GC win)! Admittedly they have been in lower tiered races but as they say, you can only beat who’s in front of you.
Some will suggest that he doesn’t have the top end speed required to challenge the big boys. If you’re one of those people, I suggest re-watching the final sprint of last years Tour. At this years edition he’ll be accompanied by his trusted lead-out man: Adrien Petit. They’ve made a great pairing this year and Petit seems to know the exact moment when to deliver Coquard to the front. Furthermore, he’ll enjoy some of the aforementioned “sprint” stages where there is a drag up to the line. These efforts really are his forte.
It will be incredibly difficult to topple Sagan from his pedestal and he is the most likely winner of the competition.
However, professional cycling can throw up a few surprises and I think his two most likely challengers will be Greipel and Coquard. The German has the best lead-out train at the race and should dominate the flat/power sprints. Coquard on the other hand will hope for top 5s on the really flat stages and pick up points on those Class 1 stages that head upwards in the final Km. For the fun of it, I’ll say the Coq will come first and win the jersey!
(Although I really think Sagan will retain his crown, I do expect those three riders to make up the podium).
I think there’s some value in backing my two outsiders EW for the title. You can get;
Greipel @ 9/1 with Betway. 1pt EW. (I’d take the 8/1 available with other bookmakers)
Coquard @ 20/1 with William Hill. 0.5pt EW.
Hope you enjoyed this Green jersey preview, I will be back tomorrow with a look at the KOM competition! As usual, any feedback is greatly appreciated 🙂 Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.