In a move that will suit the pure sprinters like Mark Cavendish (opens in new tab) and Marcel Kittel (opens in new tab), whilst potentially upsetting the dominance of Peter Sagan (opens in new tab), ASO has overhauled the Tour de France’s green jersey points system.
From next year they will award more points for the winner of flat stages and reduce the amount awarded to the second and third placed riders.
Thierry Gouvenou, Tour de France (opens in new tab) course director, confirmed the changes at the presentation (opens in new tab) in Paris on October 22: “When we are almost certain that the stage will end in a sprint, we will add a little bonus to first place." There are nine flat stages in the 2015 race.
“Previously we’ve had 45, 35 and 30 points for the top three positions respectively. Now we will award 50, 30 and 20 points. The person who wins the stage will have a bigger advantage over the others, and it’s something which brings the pure sprinters back into the frame for the green jersey.”
This is good news for the big name sprinters, in particular Cavendish, who won six stages of the 2009 Tour only to see Thor Hushovd (opens in new tab) wrap up the green jersey by taking the intermediate sprint on a long lone breakaway on a hilly stage.
Marcel Kittel meanwhile has dominated the sprints for the last two years but has not been able to challenge Peter Sagan for the green jersey.
Sagan has been a clear winner of the green jersey for the last three editions of the race. His turn of speed sees him regularly finish in the top three on the flat stages while his ability to get over the hills means he scores points on the stages that see his faster rivals dropped before the finish.
The change also raises the chances of the jersey being decided on the final day with the traditional sprint on the Champs-Élysées, making for an even more dramatic ending to the 102nd Grande Boucle.
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Jack Elton-Walters hails from the Isle of Wight, and would be quick to tell anyone that it's his favourite place to ride. He has covered a varied range of topics for Cycling Weekly, producing articles focusing on tech, professional racing as well as cycling culture. He moved on to work for Cyclist Magazine in 2017 where he stayed for four years until going freelance. He now returns to Cycling Weekly from time-to-time to cover racing and write longer features for print and online. He is not responsible for misspelled titles on box outs