At last, I’ve found a source quoting the new rules for the Tour de France points and mountains competitions. These rules have changed after Tour organisers ASO wanted to liven up the race a bit, to ensure the green jersey is more closely correlated with a stage winning sprinter and also so that the mountains jersey goes to a proper climber, rather than a calculator-wielding rider who takes off early on a couple of mountain stages.
Anyway, there had been talk of rules changes… but then more talk of more changes and nobody’s had a definitive version. Now it seems LiVE-Radsport.com have got their hands on the rules. Here’s how it works…
There will now only be one intermediate sprint during each stage, as opposed to two or three in the past. Here 20 points are on offer to the first rider and a sliding scale for those close behind down to 15th place. At the finish line the points will vary, with 45 points available to the winner on a flat stage, 30 points on a hilly stage and 20 for a mountain stage and again, with points down to 15th. As such an intermediate sprint is worth the same as a stage win in the mountains when it comes to the green jersey.
I’m unsure what to make of this. The increased weight of the intermediate sprint could be a significant tactical change in the race. We might see some breakaway artists rack up points, then again we might see breakaways reeled in just so a challenger close to the green jersey can sprint for more points. Mark Cavendish will appreciate the chance to take big points in a sprint final but first week of uphill finishes could well see a more rounded rider wearing green, especially if they can latch on to a breakaway to mop up points from the intermediate sprints on a mountain stage. Certainly no rider can leave it to the finish line to get their points.
King of the Mountains jersey
Big changes here. Lower rated climbs now get fewer points, with only the first rider to the top of a fourth category climb getting one measly point. There are still 20 points for a hors catégorie climb but whereas 10 riders over the top used to get points, now only the first six get points and even then the sixth rider gets just two points. Plus points are doubled for the four HC summit category finishes.
As such, this is a clear way to reward pure climbers. No longer can a rider poach points on the flat stages and top up with a couple of Alpine breakaways. Not that this strategy was ever easy but last year’s winner Anthony Charteau managed to win the competition yet stay anonymous. This time points are distributed to those crossing the high climbs with an even greater advantage to those in contention at the finish of a stage compared to the earlier climbs on a stage.
King of the mountains points
Green jersey points
|Cat 1||Cat 2||Cat 3+4||Cat 5||Intermediate sprint|
Every stage of the Tour de France is classified with a “coefficient”, a category to determine how hard they are and the easier the stage, the greater the number of points available for the green jersey competition. For 2011, here’s how the stages break down:
Coefficient 1: Stages 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15, 21
Coefficient 2: Stages 8, 9, 16
Coefficient 3+4: Stages 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19
Coefficient 5: Stage 20 (time trial)