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Who Will Win The Mountains Jersey?

Romain Bardet

An iconic jersey and an accidental competition. If a big name rider wins like Chris Froome did last year then it’s incidental, a bonus on top of the yellow jersey. If a lesser rider wins then we may appreciate the effort but it can feel like the triumph of arithmetic rather than a genuine award for the best climber. Either way it’s a fine prize and many riders will try to wear it, even one day can mark a career. Here’s a look at the competition for 2016 with the contenders and what’s new with the points scale.

History: The term “best climber” began in 1905 when the L’Auto newspaper started to label a ride in the race but it was merely a label in the newspaper associated with the race, a subjective term. 1933 saw the first formal classification and in 1975 the competition got a dedicated jersey. The polka dots came about because the sponsor of the competition was Poulain, a chocolate company that used red and white packaging at the time. It’s stuck despite the change of sponsors and it’s become so symbolic that other races use a dotted jersey for the competition too. Chris Froome won it last year.

Points: The classement général du meilleur grimpeur is the strict title. It is a points competition and the bigger the climb, the more points:

  • Hors Catégorie passes: 25-20-16-14-12-108-6-4-2 points respectively for first 10 riders to finish
  • Category 1 climbs: 10-8-6-4-2-1 points
  • Category 2: 5-3-2-1 points respectively
  • Category 3: 2-1 points
  • Category 4: 1 point
  • Points are doubled for the final climb on a stage with a summit finish (Stages 9, 12, 17 and 19)

In case you wonder how climbs are categorised, see How Are Climbs Categorised? from last year.

Here’s the split of climbs for the 2016 race, the finishes reflect the doubled point opportunities.

HC Finish 1 Finish HC 1 2 3 4
No. of climbs 3 1 4 12 7 13 18
Total Points 150 20 100 120 35 26 18

The total points score is for the first rider on the climb. As you can see the points scale is heavily weighted towards the stage winners of the big summit finishes. All those efforts sprinting for third and fourth category climbs might bring the jersey early but they’re unlikely to help a rider keep it. To exaggerate to make the point should a rider bag every single third and fourth category climb in the race they’d earn 26+18 = 44 points which is less than winning one summit finish atop an HC climb with 50 points up for grabs.

2016: Accidental GC or Raider?
The jersey has become a target for breakaway riders who aim to go on a long raid in the mountains to amass points, often day after day. However last year Chris Froome won it almost by accident on his way to winning the race overall.

What’s interesting for 2016 is the number of first category climbs, 12 in total and up from just five last year. This looks deliberate, an attempt to give away more points ahead of the big summit finishes, and certainly having ridden and reconned all of the mountain stages ahead of the race the classification of some seemed generous, as if the race wants to tilt the competition to the breakaway riders.

Chris Froome

The default picks are the overall candidates especially those capable of wining the three HC-rated summit finishes on Stages 9, 12 and 17, it’s here that Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana get the nod ahead of the others. Win atop Mont Ventoux and by the Emosson dam and that’s 100 points in the bag. Similarly Alberto Contador should be close too.

Dan Martin is an interesting pick. He was excellent in the recent Dauphiné, climbing with the best and unleashing a very fast finish which can bring stage wins and crucially double points on the summit finishes. There are questions whether he can hang with the main GC riders for three weeks but if he can’t then he can use the final week to go in the breakaways and take points.

Joaquim Rodriguez was a prototype rider for this competition only his results are slowing and if he wore the jersey last year he didn’t win it because he lost out in the big summit finish battles. Katusha have Jürgen Van Den Broeck and Ilnur Zakarin for the GC so this leaves Rodriguez free to chase stages and the jersey.

Fabio Aru was missing in the Dauphiné but that was a month ago. If he’s got himself into shape then he can hang with the best in the mountains and has an explosive finish. If he’s off the pace then it’s Operation Salvage and this would be a consolation prize. Vincenzo Nibali is a contender too, he could decide not to bother with the overall but pick off stages and “help” Aru by going up the road in the mountains but if he’s to win it’ll be on his way to taking stage wins. Jacob Fuglsang is strong too but surely on team duties after being given his chance at the Giro.

Pierre Rolland 1.0 used to lose beaucoup time in the opening week and the time trials so that he began the mountains with a big deficit and readjusted ambitions, giving him the motivation and the space to attack and climb his way back into the top-10 overall. Cannondale are trying to rewrite the script but so far the results have not followed and Pierre Rolland 2.0 could return to his old ways and perhaps the polka dot jersey. Cofidis’s Daniel Navarro tends to follow a similar story to the Rolland of old.

Daniel Teklehaimanot

Daniel Teklehaimanot made a name for himself last year by taking the jersey in the first week and is a good example of how much this jersey matters, it can give some riders a big goal to aim for. Now he’s back with bigger ambitions. He can climb well in the high mountains too and took the mountains jersey recently in the Critérium du Dauphiné.

If things go wrong for Warren Barguil, Thibaut Pinot or Romain Bardet in the opening week then the polka-dot jersey will become a welcome Plan-B and all three can, if they have the perfect race, aim for a high GC placing and the mountains jersey. Bardet is the best pick given his more explosive finish while his team mate Domenico Pozzovivo could try too. Louis Meintjes is climber in search of something and Lampre-Merida team mate Rui Costa looks to be going back to searching for stage wins rather than chasing a top-10 GC finish and this could mean he collects points from going in breakaways. Bauke Mollema‘s been aiming for high GC finishes but can feature, the same for Adam Yates who is probably more interested in the White Jersey.

Finally this is the meilleur grimpeur competition but the best climber in the race may not win. Pure climbers like Mikel Landa, Mikel Nieve, Rafał Majka and Winner Anacona will be working for their leaders rather than going for points.

Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana
Alberto Contador, Dan Martin
Joaquim Rodriguez, Fabio Aru, Daniel Teklehaimanot, Romain Bardet
Rolland, Barguil, Meintjes, Navarro, Rui Costa, Vuillermoz, Nibali, Grmay, Mollema

Comment: Froome and Quintana lead the list because of the certainty they bring in the high mountains. However the addition of many more first category climbs this year substantially increases the chances of the “raiders” as they have more chances to score ahead of the summit finishes. Predicting who this will be is not easy, it’s almost a lottery but a climber who can deliver in the third week stands to gain rewards here. Joaquim Rodriguez is an obvious pick but doesn’t seem to sparkle as much these days while circumstances can dictate the competition, a rider Bardet could easily be caught the wrong side of a split or crash and end up deciding to go for the mountains competition because they’re forced to change objectives during the race.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Alastair S Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 1:46 pm

    Really wish they would get rid of the double points for stage finishes. I have nothing against Froome but winning a jersey in a grand tour ‘by accident’ doesn’t do the race or the fans any favours.

    • Kit Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 2:13 pm

      Whether Froome or not, I completely agree – GC contenders so frequently win these it’s a big part of why it’s a secondary competition that means little.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 2:15 pm

      Get rid of the double points and then some lesser rider can collect the jersey thanks to a couple of long range breakaways, still hard to do but often an equally unsatisfying winner too.

      • Richard S Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 2:21 pm

        Its a problem that a raider wouldn’t be in the media spotlight so a non-fan/Tour de France only fan would be like ‘who?, what, he isn’t anywere near Chris Froome how can he be the best climber?’, and also there main work will be done before the TV cameras start rolling. If they were shown on TV and on highlights packages slogging over pass after pass in the boiling sun then I think people would be able to comprehend them as the best climber?

        • The Lost Ark Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 4:00 pm

          If your ‘best climber’ raider actually did slog over pass after pass in the boiling sun then you might have a point.

          What happens the vast majority of the time is that some guy goes in a few breaks where nearly everybody else has other interests – stage win, team prize, up the road to help their GC guy in his later attack – and then rides a steady tempo up every climb before sprinting away from a non-existent challenge in the last few hundred metres to ‘grab’ the KOM points.

          Voila! your ‘best climber’.

          You don’t have to be a non-fan or a TdF-only fan to regard that all-too-common scenario as a complete crock.

          • J Evans Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 5:16 pm

            Both this and the green jersey have become devalued in recent years. Time was that these were held in much higher regard than a stage win – as they should be. Don’t know why it’s no longer a major aim for big riders, nor how it could be again.
            As IR says, someone like Dan Martin should go for this and stage wins – he has very little chance of getting in the top 5 overall.
            Can’t see Nibali going for it – would be nice. Can’t even see why he’s here. Surely, he’d be better off trying to win the Vuelta?
            Riders like Navarro, Rolland and JVDB are the ones who should be going for this – an actual big victory to add to their palmares. Something to look back on in retirement (whereas the best any of them have now is ‘3rd in the Tour after Contador was nicked’).
            Similarly, it would be a great result for Barguil – whereas it’d be sniffed at for Bardet and Pinot, I suspect.
            But I’m expecting a big disappointment from this ‘contest’ as in recent years.
            We seem to be stuck with someone winning it by accident or a ‘chancer’.

      • Vedrafjord Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 4:03 pm

        This issue has been debated in the comments many times of course, but if you eliminate double points/reduce the HC weighting:
        – you get two contests instead of one and allow a whole extra bunch of riders visibility and an incentive to animate the race
        – you get action on earlier climbs – otherwise on multi climb stages the big GC guys will normally just roll through summits towed by their trains
        – if the GC is sewn up early, like in 2012, you still have a chance of a good battle for polka dots

        Obviously the greater issue is the Tour has decided that big mountain set pieces are the main way to decide GC. Long time trials won’t be making a comeback any time soon as they don’t make good TV. Personally my favourite stages are medium mountain stages with the hardest parts well before the end and long up/down stretches without too much flat to split things up. In the absence of smaller teams these won’t create gaps anything like a HC MTF though.

        If there was a mountain time trial with flat stages either side of it, all the climbers could give 100% knowing they’d have the next day to recover. If it became a regular thing it could be the unofficial climber’s world championships, the way the Champs Elysees is the unofficial sprinters one. That way there’d be less pressure on the polka dots to be the ‘official’ best climber.

    • Nick Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 4:16 pm

      Froome would have won last year without the double points. It’s having so many summit-top finishes, rather than giving them double points, that leads to this result.

      • Augustas Pablo Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 9:46 pm

        “Froome would have won last year without the double points.” How do you work that out?

  • Anonymous Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 1:53 pm

    I think this year we will have a KoM competition outside the GC. I already thought last year Rodriguez would leave the Tour emptyhanded and then he suprised me with his stagewins at the Muur and on Plateau de Beille. But I don’t think he can do the needed effort for a KoM-win, repeatedly on subsequent days. He was 5th in the KoM competition last year. We see a steady decline from him for some years now. But maybe a stagewin is still within his reach.

    Rolland – like every cannondale rider I don’t want him to win anything. Why? Many reasons, here is one example: In these times, where racism shows it’s ugly face and creeps out of it’s dark corners into the bright light of “mainstream life” seeing vaughters tweet about “the frogs” and calling Rolland “his frog” is beyond disgusting. You can have fun and make jokes, edgy jokes, with a million things – it simply must not be nationality. He sets the tone with this – and he shouldn’t. I also don’t think it’s funny, that he so often talks about “his riders”. Although the velon addendum came/comes close to owning – as far as I know, the teams still don’t own the riders. I guess he thinks those things are “charming” and funny, but they only show his mindset.

    Sorry, for being offtopic and for ranting, I’ll try again:
    Rolland-don’t see it. Maybe he will get it for a few days, but think he won’t bring it home. My fingers crossed for that! My wish is for one of the smaller teams to go for it and take it, smaller teams can make it an objective for the whole team. And hopefully annoy the big teams along the way and show them, that they have the same right to be there as bigger teams (yes, Mr. Dumoulin, looking at you). Aside from that: Dan Martin sounds right. As does Warren Barguil. I even thought about Landa, taking it by accident.

    Man, I can’t wait, till the Tour starts!!! Bring it on:The nervous excitement, seeing how much it means to the riders, when once a year even the ones who normally don’t make the frontpage or come even close to it, have the possibility to get the kind of attention and love, that is usually reserved for a select few. The daily soap opera, the daily tv break, the beautiful pictures of stunning, towering mountains, sunny blue skies over endless fields, hopefully not many crashes and please, most important of all: NO VIOLENCE. Only fun, sport, celebrating cycling and humanity.

    Way more people come to watch the Tour roadside than for example come to the stadiums of the Euro2016 – so let’s show the world, that so many people can come together and enjoy the sport peacefully and friendly. Together. Without hate and violence. Please.

  • John Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 1:57 pm

    Could Jarlinson Pantano feature? He had a good Tour de Suisse, but I don’t know much about him. I guess he will be working for Frank or even targeting GC if the IAM team leader hasn’t recovered.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 2:20 pm

      I was tempted to put him in too but had to keep the list shorter. He’s a top pick for Stage 15 already.

  • Richard S Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 2:06 pm

    I think Dan Martin fits the bill here almost perfectly. He can climb with the best and outsprint them for stage wins in the high mountains, he can win any small uphill finish if there are any this year and he can lose loads of time on a ‘jour sans’ and go on a long raid. He’s got it all in his locker! Likewise Porte, who if he comes across his usual bad luck/bad day might want to readjust. I also think Alaphilippe could feature if Martin finds himself riding strong all 3 weeks and is right in the mix. Alaphilippe can certainly go in a breakaway in the mountains and obviously has a strong sprint.

    • Shawn Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 3:33 pm

      I would love to see DMart go for the KOM jersey. That seems a much more satisfying result than coming in 7-12 on GC.

  • Alex222 Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 2:24 pm

    “having ridden and reconned all of the mountain stages ahead of the race…”
    I am impressed INRNG with your commitment to the cause, although I am sure it didn’t prove an unpleasant trip or two.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 2:25 pm

      It was all good fun, enjoyed meeting/spotting some of the contenders named in the piece above too 😉

      • RQS Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 9:06 pm

        +1 on kudos

        That must’ve taken the better part of a month to scope out?!

        • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 9:10 pm

          Sadly it was only the unfamiliar climbs along the route, there was no point visiting Mont Ventoux or the Tourmalet again. Still hoping to visit Le Lioran in the coming days ahead of the finish of Stage 5.

      • Ken Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 5:54 pm

        Surely a dirty job, but someone had to do it. Glad you had fun!

  • John Irvine Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 3:11 pm

    Off topic here, but I would love to see an in-depth explainer on the National Championship races. I watched a few this year, and they are fascinating beasts. All the usual strategies seem to be out the window, and you end up with a lot of cat and mouse finishes from a few breakaway riders. (I would not have been surprised to see Gilbert pull off a track stand before getting the jump on Wellens.) But how they get in the break, and stay or not seems very obscure. You did a nice intro here: http://inrng.com/2011/06/the-strangest-day-of-racing-all-year/, but it’d be great to get more thoughts on tactics.
    -John

    • Richard S Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 4:15 pm

      I watched the French road race on Eurosport and found the lonesome battles of Alaphillipe (I know he had one team mate) and Gallopin against the vast hordes of FDJ and AG2R riders very entertaining! I’d imagine Gilbert and van Avarmaet upgainst a shed load of Lotto and Quick Step riders would be pretty similar.

      • StevhanTI Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 9:00 am

        As a matter of fact Phil and GVA had a few team mates in support: Vliegen, Hermans, Teuns and the five of them may have been the strongest bloc in the race because they were all very fit for the kind of parcours that featured in this year’s BC. Proof is in the pudding: Phil won, GVA was third. The truth is that Lotto and EQS have a lot of strong riders but not so many strong BELGIAN riders for the kind of race it was: a long succession of short, steep-ish hills. It was compared to Amstel Gold Race so the final result was completely predictable but despite that, the race was very entertaining.

    • Vedrafjord Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 4:28 pm

      Agreed. Here in Ireland (or indeed other small countries) it’s very different to one of those countries with several pro teams and massive strength in depth like France. You have a handful of world tour pros riding on their own, one semi-Irish Conti team, a bunch of local development teams, and guys riding in the colours of their local clubs (including my one!) who are mostly happy to hang on. You even had a guy like Ryan Sherlock (who’s primarily a MTB rider who happens to be a very good road climber and owns most of the big KOMs near Dublin) riding as ‘unattached’.

      Because of the huge difference in strengths, the favourites basically banded together and rode away on the first lap.

      • ZigaK Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 6:48 pm

        Fantastic parcours on the French road race. And great racing on top. Really enjoyed it.

    • RQS Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 9:12 pm

      If you have read (or my case, listened to) David Miller’s ‘The Racer’ it has an interesting section on the National Champs.
      The affiliations largely lie along the lines you suggest. You either have a ready made team set to help you, or you form strange alliances with those in a similar boat e.g. Miller, Cummings, Dowsett vs. Sky – depending on the year – and force the issue (or control the race).

  • RQS Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 3:31 pm

    For all the fanfare about Teklamhaimanot last year I found his point hunting little more than a side show and not really a worthy wearer. No big mountain finishes and just a side effect from his team forcing him to get into breaks. Good exposure for him and the team, but not really what I consider to be the raison d’etre of the competition.

    Rodriquez seems like a good bet, as does Rolland (outside of the main GC contenders). It does seem likely that should anyone of the above riders find themselves with a cats chance in hell of competing in the top ten then they may persue the KOM jersey as a consolation – which is why Rolland and Rodriguez seem likely picks. Roll away early on a la Voeckler and pick up the points before the maillot Jaune group roll through for the final climb and win.

    Aru and Nibali look like a disaster waiting to happen. It will be interesting to see if they get on, unless they have the team order sorted. I can’t see them both being happy in that set-up and expect Nibbles to throw his toys out of the pram.

    That Katusha team looks surprisingly strong, but not strong or cohesive enough.

    • Augustas Pablo Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 9:55 pm

      I don’t imagine Teklehaimanot was “forced” into getting in breaks and going for the polka dot jersey…

      • RQS Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 10:48 am

        OK ‘made’ to get the breaks. Either way his team wanted him up the road gaining exposure for the team, and it was a bi-product of that which put him polka dots. The added exposure meant the team wanted him to keep the jersey (and he probably liked having it too). But he didn’t exactly win it in the first place by virtue any amazing climbing skills, just his repeated ability to sit in the break of the day.

        • Eskorrik Asko Thursday, 30 June 2016, 6:01 am

          Well, for me the polka dot jersey is synonymous with a repeated ability to sit in the break of the day on hilly and mountainous stages. Since I don’t really expect the jersey to be anything else or believe that it shouldn’t be won by any rider who doesn’t have amazing climbing skills – as it no doubt regularly was “in the golden years” in the past – I can easily accept that and I find the contest intriguing and the achievement notable.

          Besides, it is not as if there weren’t any other riders that Teklehaimanot who (or their GS) eyed the same prize or as if his points were de facto gifted to him by his breakaway comrades who didn’t even contest them and Tekle could simply pocket them with those laughable “sprints”.

          PS I must admit that I, too, can find the polka dot jerseys won in the few first (usually) flat stages a bit silly. There should perhaps be a separate jersey for the rider with the most amazing anthill of overpass climbing skills…

  • The Wee Hon Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 4:42 pm

    Happy for anyone to win, as long as they don’t wear the matching shorts a-la Rolland

  • David Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 6:05 pm

    Back when there were world ranking points for winning both the green and mountain jerseys I felt that they meant something. These days I’m more inclined to think “who cares?” about both, but definitely more so for the mountains jersey. I can’t remember the specifics, but on the old system you earned the equivalent points to something like a 10th place on GC. If they brought that back it would definitely be more of a competition.

    • ZigaK Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 6:57 pm

      This. And also as someone allready mentioned, whole day coverage. Hearing at the start of the programme: it has been an exciting day so far, rider x was in a break, got himself 27 points – is much less exciting than actually seeing it live.
      There’s the resulting stiffer competition and we have a full circle.

    • ZigaK Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 7:19 pm

      Off course those wt (or whatever) points must be worth something.

      • J Evans Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 7:42 pm

        Yup, and more cash for winning it might up its prestige a bit.

  • Lanterne Verte Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 6:08 pm

    I wonder if the KOM competition could be redesigned so that it is based on time taken to climb a defined sector which could then be recorded as a time or translated into points. I expect there would be pros and cons, what do others think?

    • RQS Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 6:48 pm

      I do think that there should be no sprinters points on mountain finishes, and no KOM points unless there is a climb of 5-10 minutes.
      I don’t understand why sprinters points are awarded to individuals that haven’t got their bike beyond 35mph in the last 150m (i.e. Uphill finishes – you’re either climbing or your sprinting, two different competitions).
      I also think that you should only win one jersey – so Chris Froome wins yellow and next fellow with most point get KOM. You could refine to make a multiplier effect: get up one hill first you get 20 points, get up two hills first in a stage and you get 40 points x 1.5, get up three hills first in the stage you get 60 points x 3 or something. So successive hill climbing gets rewarded rather than allowing a breakaway and then closing it down to win maximum points on a summit. You could make it apply to points taken from all positions, so you could summit first on two hills and then come 8th on the last but carry the multiplier through.

      It’d make your head spin to think about it and the only choice would be to ride hard to secure your multiplier, it’d mean GC riders who only take points on the final mountain don’t score more than those in the break.

      • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 6:50 pm

        Remember these are points, not the sprinters’ points. It’s a points competition, not a sprint competition, even if the two are obviously closely associated both in our minds and the rulebook.

        • RQS Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 9:03 pm

          Sorry, my bad. I appreciate the distinction, but I think that they ought to break it out like that. I seem to remember that there was a GC rider in the Giro that had accumulated a lot of points by virtue of their consistency in getting up mostly hilly stages which seemed a nonsense because it denied the sprinters the opportunity in the competition, when there’s already a KOM jersey.
          If the point is to be the most consistent rider isn’t that the point of the GC? (I know there’s a distinction between placings and overall time) So celebrating sprinters, mountain climbers, young riders and GC all become distinct goals subject to their own strategies.

          • Ferdi Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 11:12 pm

            Consistency is about placing high in any kind of race, and regularly. Sagan is more consistent than Quintana, who doesn’t sprint.

          • RQS Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 10:54 am

            Well you are confusing two issues. There’s consistent placing and then there’s consistent racing. Quintana’s not going to get out of his seat to get involved in a sprint crash, but he will finish high up the order to preserve time. Sagan won’t finish anywhere near the front order in a high mountain race, but Quintana will…..the GC times show how consistent you are over the course of the race. Let sprinters win a sprinter jersey, mountain climbers a climbers jersey and the fastest, most consistent racer the yellow jersey.

          • RQS Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 10:57 am

            Plus if you want consistency mr Valverde is your man

          • Ferdi Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 5:10 pm

            Quite so. In a normal world and in a normal team, Valverde would have been contesting the green jersey against Sagan for the last years, and it would have been amazing.

  • Vince Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 7:13 pm

    So, here’s a thought: do away with points and give the mountains jersey to the rider with the fastest cumulative time up all the categorized “segments.” Seems like the technological side exists and, while tactics are an important part of a grand tour, they have little to do with who is the “best climber.” This would open it up to some of those climbing domestiques as well. Pretty sure I could think of a corporate sponsor that would be salivating to sponsor that competition (rhymes with ‘guava’).

    • Jan Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 9:29 pm

      Although I think we should certainly consider alternative ideas like this, we should not overlook the possible impact on the race dynamics.

      I’ve done a few stage race sportives (genre Haute Route) and that is essentially what they do for their GC. A day of racing is usually a sequence of timed and non-timed segments, mostly for safety reasons (they don’t want to include sketchy descends etc). Also, typically they take your individual total time on the timed segments, without taking the global start time into account. All in all this has a considerable effect on the dynamics of the race. Think of it as a series of time trials with recovery rides in between, rather than a normal race.

      Of course, here we are not talking about the GC and riders have to respect the time cut. Still I could imagine a rider with KOM ambitions to ride with the bunch up to the last climb, take a break for 30 minutes (some food, a drink, stretch the legs, maybe a quick massage, …) to then fly up the last climb (having to overtake slower riders and support vehicles in the process) to set a fast time. Probably not something we want?

      • Lanterne Verte Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 9:54 pm

        I agree that is a potential pitfall to the idea, but unlikely to happen in practice, wouldn’t a rider with potential to do that most likely be trying for GC or stage wins in the mountains anyway? Perhaps a combination of placings and segment times would work, but might be prohibitively complicated for teams and fans alike.

    • Lanterne Verte Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 9:48 pm

      Guava? Java? Lava? That’s what I was driving at. I’m sure it would revitalise the competition which has a legendary status in the history of GTs but I find hard to get excited by nowadays. When Merckx, Coppi etc won yellow and polkadots that meant a lot more than when Froome did.
      I’m straying a little off topic here but another way of restoring the polka dots to their former glory would be by reintroducing a significant element of flat TT. I know the majority seem to find them boring to watch but in my opinion the turning of the tide against them has made the entire three weeks less interesting because an entire cohort of potential GC contenders with a different physical type have been eliminated from contention. I also think that better photography, commentary and tv direction could bring them to life much more than currently is the case.

  • Ferdi Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 8:57 pm

    The polka-dot is the victim of flat-TT-less courses. The GC is almost basically a climbing contest. Almost no rouleurs make the top-5, let alone win. So yellow jersey = polka-dot.

    • Lanterne Verte Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 9:49 pm

      apologies Fergi I didn’t see your comment before posting mine. Agree 100%

      • Ferdi Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 11:08 pm

        No problem. Only you forgot to add that cyclocomputers are the main reason why TTs have become boring. There’s hardly anything mental about the effort anymore, therefore it’s linear and unsurprising.

      • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 11:12 pm

        This was something explored last year, the lack of TTs has made the yellow jersey the real KOM competition: http://inrng.com/2015/11/reviving-the-mountains-competition/

        There was talk of redefining the mountains competition but the promised change hasn’t happened. Maybe 2017?

    • maximflyer Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 7:19 am

      There were couple of discussions here earlier on how to revitalize the Mountains competition and just as you and Lanterne Verde said we need those long flat TTs to separate polka dot from GC.

  • Sonja Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 10:02 pm

    What about Henao? I think that he’s going to remain next to Froome in the ends of stages, which will allow him to obtain many points in the mountain.

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 11:06 pm

      Sky have had a rigid system, once people have done their work for the leader they tend to sit up. I did think of Henao, Landa etc but they’re surely more likely to work for Froome rather than get in breakways or take stage wins.

  • Ferdi Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 11:14 pm

    And one question: what is the reason why WT points are not awarded for this classification? Who decided this and what was the thought behind it?

    • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 28 June 2016, 11:53 pm

      Probably because these are ancillary competitions and the preserve of each race. A race is allowed to award four jerseys each day and no more but these can be for all sorts of random competitions, eg best Swiss rider, best Australian or some other arbitrary competition which may not necessarily be for all riders in the race.

      • Ferdi Thursday, 30 June 2016, 10:03 am

        I don’t see them more “ancillary” than stage wins. And then, you can the obvious rules, that points are only awarded for competitions for all riders in place. I think every WT stage race has mountain and regularity competitions at the moment.

    • Sonja Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 1:58 am

      Chapter X UCI RANKINGS
      2.10.008
      Scale of points
      Final position in Grand Tours secondary classifications (points and mountains competitions)
      Tour de France
      1: 120
      2: 50
      3: 25

      • ZigaK Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 8:16 am

        These are UCI points, they are important, because they determine quotas for world championships and Olympic games.
        WT points are not awarded for secondary classifications. At the moment they have no value, they determine quotas for wt, which are not contested as we all know. But they could become very important.

        • Nick Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 11:41 am

          Although if there is ultimately a “sporting competition” between the bottom WT team and the top Pro-Conti team, isn’t it more likely to be based on UCI points rather than WT points, as the Pro-Conti team is less able to compete in the WT?

  • Thoughts Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 3:06 am

    Anecdotally (and from the comments here) it appears that teams and riders increasingly give greater priority to stage wins than the non-yellow jerseys. Does anyone have any thoughts on this as a general proposition? Greater media attention? Better value UCI points? Is 1 stage win better on the resume and for sponsors than a week in the polka-dot jersey?

    • StevhanTI Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 9:08 am

      Over here in Belgium it’s often been said that a TdF stage equals a classics win….
      I guess this translates to team tactics as well the two Belgian teams are some of the most fervid stage hunters.

      Green and Polka dots and all are only interesting if they come by winning stages too, otherwise they’ll be regarded as nothing more but consolation prizes.

  • Andy Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 2:47 pm

    The Polka dot Jersey has been undermined by the fact that the ASO have binned long TTs. This leaves the GC being fought over by the best climbers making the mountains competition incidental.

    I’m not sure how to rejuvenate the competition without reverting to old style courses.

  • wanderingman Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 3:05 pm

    Great article and blog but just thought I’d point out an error. You’ve listed 108 points for topping the climb 6th on a Hors category. It would sure make things interesting I suppose, track stands anyone?

  • Jeff Wednesday, 29 June 2016, 7:46 pm

    My main gripes with the KOM jersey competition is that:

    1. It either doesn’t measure what it purports to measure (No one would claim Teklehaimanot was the best climber in the tour); or
    2. It is won by the yellow jersey as a by-product of the climbing required to win the yellow jersey.

    As many have pointed out, having more ITTs would make the yellow jersey competition less of a climber specialty, which would then perhaps better justify having a polka-dot jersey competition. Right now, though, I think it is somewhat pointless.

    As it stands now, I would prefer to have the jersey competitions reduced to yellow for overall time and green for points (as some approximate measure of overall consistent placing). I have no real problems with the white jersey competition, but it’s really just a yellow jersey competition with an age limit.

  • Adam Thursday, 30 June 2016, 3:40 am

    Having the winner of the GC also winning the polka dot jersey is a natural result of having designed parcours which so heavily favour climbers over all rounders. Personally, the Tour had the right balance in the 1980s when the KOM winner was frequently one of the best climbers in the race, usually placing in the top 5 or 10 but without the all round ability to compete in the longer TTs. As a result the winner was often riders like Millar, Herrera, Rooks, Theunisse etc. Seeing the polka dot jersey in the front group of CG contenders is where it belongs IMHO, not on the shoulders of a breakaway specialist who can’t place in etc overall top 10. Quintana winning it in 2013 was a good result I think.

    • Jeff Thursday, 30 June 2016, 5:00 pm

      +1

  • MultiplexRant Thursday, 30 June 2016, 9:36 am

    TBH I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the KOM competition as it is 🙂

    Some of the suggestions on here seem to be saying we should make the Tour more complicated (changing the points system) or boring (more long TTs).

    We have to remember it’s a nice ancillary competition, but it’s real value is as part of the visual iconography of the Tour, especially for the casual fans.

    • Ferdi Thursday, 30 June 2016, 9:59 am

      More long TTs means (higher probability of) less boring mountain stages, I hope I don’t have to elaborate why. The most boring long TT is still much more interesting than a “sprint royale” (whatever that means, because to me it’s just another team-controlled sprint). And then, let me insist, ask yourself if TTs without cyclo-computers on the bars would be the same.

  • piwakawaka Thursday, 30 June 2016, 9:57 am

    I like the idea of timed segments for the polka dots, one thing we are forgetting is that the riders and teams prize the various competitions highly, not many get to wear the yellow jersey, but many work really hard for that person, I think its great to have an award for others.

    If you get the polka dots on an overpass good for you, everyone knew that’s where the points were, everyone get’s a crack at them so you’re a worthy winner.

  • RQS Thursday, 30 June 2016, 8:08 pm

    The more I think about this the more I think back to Robert Millar. The crucial thing about it should be scoring on mountains. No points for being first over a motorway bridge as someone else put it.

    Perhaps all points must be scored on climbs with an elevation of 300m or more. That would definitely avoid the Teklahaimanot paradox and keep the jersey for the real climbers (or those aiming specifically for it). An alternative would be to do away with the Jacques Goddet award and give the jersey to the rider who makes it up the biggest climb first – or both. A one-day race within a race as it were.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 30 June 2016, 8:37 pm

      Teklehaimanot wore the jersey last year but didn’t win it, he only did what he had to do earlier. The race needs the jersey in the early week, something to happen on sprint stages and also the sponsors want/need it too. But all the motorway bridges in France don’t matter, the one point at the top is nothing compared to collecting full points at the top of a proper mountain pass.