Talking About The Green. We’re into the final couple of days prior to the big show starting, and I reckon it’s time to throw my two cents into the prediction ring.
I’ll start with the green (or points) jersey — a jersey that two of the boys from Garmin have worn in the past two seasons, but which neither actually held. Wiggo and Millar both rode in the green jersey the day after the Prologue, yet neither was leading the points competition, which was lead by Fabian Cancellara, who happened to also be holding the yellow jersey, and so of course wore that on the day.
Couple that with Tyler Farrar being a genuine contender for the green for the last few years, and of course I’ve had a lot of interest in the points jersey.
This year sees a big change in the weighting of the points earned in each stage, essentially ensuring that if a rider is as dominant as Mark Cavendish has been with stage wins, then he will win the green jersey.
The other change is that the value of the intermediate bonus points have increased immensely, which may change the way the stages are ridden by the sprinter teams. Thor Hushovd’s famous mountain escapes to collect green jersey points (and make up for his inability to match Cav in sprint stage finales) may be covered more vigorously this year.
The great expectation for this year with the points change is that Cav will finally (and deservedly) pop his green jersey cherry. Cav famously has stated that he rides for stage wins and will win the green jersey if he wins enough stages, but won’t chase points on intermediate sprints.
His main rivals for the green come from Garmin Cervelo in Tyler Farrar and Thor Hushovd.
Ty is one of the only blokes in the world who can beat Cav in a sprint, and Thor has the speed to score some points in sprints, as well as the strength to get over the intermediate hill stages in touch with the leaders to win stages that other sprinters are not able to physically contest. He also is able to put himself into breaks and take points in intermediates, accruing points that way.
Thor has said he’ll support Ty in the sprints at the Tour, although if the opportunity arises for a stage win, of course he’ll take it!
Here comes the tough part: as great a bloke as Ty is, and as much as I love the way he races and sprints, I just can’t see him beating Cav for the green jersey.
The main reason for this is that I can’t imagine Ty chasing intermediate points either: I can actually hear Ty saying “It’s kinda lame to win it without beating him.”
Atop that, Garmin don’t appear to have picked any domestiques. They have an amazing lead-out train (Millar to JD to Thor to Ty) and a good triple climber threat (VDV, Hesje & TommyD), but Zab and Navardauskas are clearly not going to be able to control the race alone.
It’s an interesting scenario, and we shall see what tricks JV has up his sleeve to make things work for the team. Get Ryder and TommyD to ride on the front? Or if VDV isn’t on form, have him do the work? We shall see soon!
Going on past form, Ty will push Cav, and may (WILL!!!) beat him in a stage (OR TWO!!!), but Cav will get more out of Ty than Ty will get from him. There are three definite bunch sprints and two Classics-style kickers in the 1st week, two lumpy potential sprints in the second week and two bunchies in the third week.
The Ty vs Cav show will have a subplot of Thor vs Gossy with those kicker finishes in the first week where the out-and-out speed demons could score zero points, and their two lieutenants come close to maxing out (and thus giving Thor a sniff at jumping off the front of the bunch to chase intermediate points).
My tips are (and I hope I’m wrong!):
If you think you know better, show your knowledge off in one of the fantasy leagues I’m playing:
- League name: TdF Dreaming
- Password: TdF
- League name: Switchback Fixation
- League Code: 27012917