I said in my last post that I would take a look at the potential winners of the Maillot Vert (Points) and the Maillot a Pois (King of the Mountains) competitions in this post. In these competitions, especially the King of the Mountains competition, it is a bit harder to pick out the potential winners.
Normally in the Green Jersey competition it is fairly easy to find the riders who could win it. You start the list with Mark Cavendish, then add a few others. This year predicting a winner is complicated by the Olympic Road Race taking place six days after the Tour de France finishes. The Olympic course suits the type of rider who would normally be targeting the Green Jersey, so there is a question mark over whether some or indeed any of the contenders will make it to Paris. Some, like previous Green Jersey winners Thor Hushovd and Tom Boonen, have decided to opt out of the Tour completely, in order to concentrate on the Olympics. Other contenders may be tempted to drop out before the Pyrénées in order to fully rested on the start line in London. All of this makes predicting a winner difficult. In addition, this this years route appears to feature fewer stages that are suited to out and out sprinters.
Who is in the running for Green?
Let’s start with the obvious candidate, the current World Champion, and self proclaimed “Fastest Man on Two Wheels©” Mark Cavendish. I don’t think that ‘Cav’ will win the green jersey this year. I think that he is more focussed on winning the gold medal in the Olympic road race than winning green again. Also this year his team is focused on Bradley Wiggins and winning the Tour, so we won’t see nine riders on the front making sure that it ends up as a sprint.
He will probably win a few stages though.
The person I think will probably win is Peter Sagan. At this year’s Tour of California he won every stage that that wasn’t a time-trial or didn’t finish on top of a mountain. The boy ( he’s 22) is seriously fast and he can get over reasonably big hills. He will have competition from the likes of Matt Goss and Andre Griepel and possibly Oscar Friere, but this year I think it is his to lose.
Who is in the running for King of the Mountains?
The short answer is I haven’t got a clue. Alexander Vinokurov has said that he would like to at least try to win the thing. Every French breakaway artist would like to spend a day or two in the jersey. A climber like Dan Martin or Samuel Sanchez, who is unlikely to feature as a G.C. contender could take it, but for sentimental reasons I think it would be nice if David Moncoutie won the Polka Dots in what will be his final Tour de France.