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Are the jersey competitions due a shake up?

Peter Sagan, Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana on the podium of the 2015 Tour de France
Jordan Gibbons
28 Jul 2015

A second tier competition denied us some much-needed excitement in the Tour de France.

For all the hype of a huge showdown from the ‘big four’, the 2015 Tour de France GC was pretty much put to bed on the first summit finish. Chris Froome attacked and left everyone else fighting over the remaining spots on the podium but let’s forget about the yellow jersey for a minute. Instead let's concentrate on the three other jersey competitions: the polka dot, the green and the white.

The green jersey

Peter Sagan in the green jersey

Peter Sagan has now won four green jerseys on the bounce, which is a tremendous feat especially considering that ASO changed the rules to try and stop him. That said, it’s impossible to look past the fact that he’s gone 53 stages without a single win. Andre Greipel won four stages at this years Tour, one of which was taken at 68kph, yet he didn’t even get a look in.

It’s easy to forget that Erik Zabel won six green jerseys (1996 – 2001) and didn’t win a stage in two of those victories. Zabel’s strength was not in his sprint but instead in his ability to climb and hang with the bunch. Zabel and Sagan are similar in that respect - rouleurs rather than sprinters.

So is another rule change due? Probably not. This year the sprinters only had one stage once the Tour hit the mountains so it was fairly obvious that Sagan would claim the jersey once again. Next year, if there are a few more flat sprint stages in, we might see Greipel putting Sagan to shame – although he shamed himself pretty well yesterday…

The polka dot jersey

Daniel Teklehaimanot in the polka dot jersey, 2015 Tour de France

Apart from a bit of excitement when Daniel Teklehaimanot took the polka dot jersey early on, the climbers’ competition never really seemed to get going. It was a little disappointing, and at times the competition failed to be distinguished from the main GC battle, which was highlighted by the fact Chris Froome won it in the process of winning the yellow jersey.

So does it need a change? Perhaps. This year’s Tour was particularly mountainous and, without much time trialling, the only place the GC battle could really take place was in the mountains making it inevitable that the eventual winner would take the polka dots too. Perhaps removal of the double points for a mountain top finish would balance things out and prevent the final 5km GC charge soaking up all the points.

The white jersey

Nairo Quintana attacks Chris Froome on the climb to Pra Loup

Once the Tour hit the mountains then there was only ever really one winner of the white jersey and that was always going to be Nairo Quintana. Yellow jersey contenders are getting younger and Quintana has been competing at the sharp end since he was 22, although this is the last year he’ll be eligible for the white jersey.

Is it worth changing? It’s hard to see how it could be changed, apart from accepting that Tour contenders are younger and lowering the age cap. Perhaps it could be changed to new riders, so those in their first two years as a professional, rather than just riders under 25.

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