The rules for the points competition in the 2015 Tour de France have changed. Since the route was unveiled last October there was an announcement to reward the sprint finish specialists. Now the new points scale can be unveiled.
It’s sprinter friendly with lots more points awarded to the winner of a flat sprint stage and fewer points to stage winners on hillier days. An anti-Sagan system?
Each stage has a “coefficient” which is a classification of the type of stage. It is used to determine which scale of points applies and also what the time cut will be on the stage. Here are the cofficient ratings for each stage:
- Flat stages / Coefficient 1: 50-30-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-7-6-5-4-3 and 2 points for the first 15 riders to finish
- Hilly finish-Medium mountain stages / Coefficient 2 and 3: 30-25-22-19-17-15-13-11-9-7-6-5-4-3-2 points for the first 15 riders to finish
- Mountain Stages / Coefficient 4 and 5: 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points for the first 15 riders to finish.
- Individual time trial stages / Coefficient 6 : 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points to the first 15 riders to finish
- Intermediate sprints: 20-17-15-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points respectively for the first 15 riders
What’s new? The points are tilted to the sprint winner with 50-30-20 for the first three on a flat stage compared to 45-35-30 last year. First place means an instant 20 point advantage. The chart below shows the 2015 system for Coefficient 1 stages in green compared to the old scale in grey:
As you can see winning a stage matters a lot more than placing regularly. Also if the sprint or flat stages are rewarded with more points for 2015 then the hillier stages have fewer. Coefficient two stages have 30,25,22 and down.
The Outcome: for years people have labelled the green jersey as the sprinter’s jersey but it’s really been about consistent placing. Now it is for the fastest sprinter and the wearing the jersey should correlate with sprint wins. Speed trumps consistency. It means Peter Sagan’s tactic of placing on sprint stages and then collecting points on the hillier days when the pure sprinters are dropped won’t be so effective. However this doesn’t mean the jersey is reserved for, say, Mark Cavendish, Alexander Kristoff and Marcel Kittel because Sagan’s lead in the contest last year was so big that these changes could simply make the contest closer.