Article submitted by Twitter user @cyclingbolar

Previous Winners

2017: Warren Barguil
2016: Rafal Majka
2015: Chris Froome
2014: Rafal Majka
2013: Nairo Quintana
2012: Thomas Voeckler

  • Hors Categorie: 20-15-12-10-8-6-4-2
  • Category 1: 10-8-6-4-2-1 points
  • Category 2: 5-3-2-1 points
  • Category 3:  2-1 points
  • Category 4: 1 point
  • Double points are awarded for mountaintop finishes

Ever since Voeckler won it in 2012, it has been won by GC riders or riders that can ride with the GC riders. It hasn’t really suited the breakaway riders. However, this year could be a bit different with the route that is planned. You will find that in most stages the points on the climb are equal or greater or just less than what is on offer for the final climb – hence why it will suit attacking riders. You also need to take into account 8 rider teams.

We’ll take a look at the first three key stages in the Alps, stage 10, 11 and 12.

 

Stage 10 may not be a GC day, so 51 points are up for grabs for a non GC rider. That could get someone a foundation to build on. The next stage should be a GC fight, but if that rider could back up, they could pick up 45 more points before the winner of the stage picks up 40. Either way, even if they win the first climb and sit up for the rest of the day, they will still have the lead. Then stage 12 is more of the same. 45 points up for grabs before the GC guys take the 40 on offer at the end.

So from the outset, if someone actually wants to pursue this jersey, they can. We then look at the next block of stages to earn points on. Stage 14, Stage 15, Stage 16 and Stage 17.

Stage 14 will be a non-entity but stage 15 you can pick up 17 points, followed by 27 on the next stage before the 65km stage 17 where 40 points is on offer. If a rider does go for this jersey, they could have a good lead and not need to do anything on stage 17 and they could still be in the lead or just out of it, but if they are just out of it, they have stage 19 to get the points back. 57 points on offer that stage.

So it’s highly possible a lesser climber can win this jersey depending on if any strong climbers go for it.

So let’s look at the contenders. I am going to split this up into three categories; Strong Climbers, Medium Climbers, Contenders if their GC rider crashes out.

I am going to call it now that a rider going for the yellow jersey won’t win this jersey. There’s too many variables and too many stages that doesn’t suit that style of riding. This route favours the attacking riders.

This is wide open so I have tried to narrow it down.

  1. Strong Climbers

Warren Barguil ($3.50) – Is the favourite. He is hunting for stages and after winning it last year, he might go for it again. If he goes for it, he is going to be hard to stop.

Rafal Majka ($15) – It depends on his GC ambitions. If he is out of the hunt after stage 9, he will go for stage wins and being a solid climber, we could see these two go head to head.

Primoz Roglic ($26) – Won’t be riding for the GC and will hunt stages and will be the best climber in this lot.

Lilian Calmejane ($26) – Will also be hunting stages. Could end up being in the battle for it.

Gorka Izagirre ($401) – Will be riding for Nibali which means he will be sent up the road on the big days to be there should Nibali need his help later on. A quality climber, could end up going for the jersey too especially if given a green light to go after a stage win.

Ion Izagirre ($401) –  Same as Gorka.

2. Lesser Climbers

Thomas De Gendt ($12) – De Gendt is a breakaway specialist and you know he will back up day after day. If he can get a good lead over some of the better climbers on the first stage, he could end up being in a position to go for this jersey and to defend it.

John Darwin Atapuma ($41) – Will also hunt breaks even though he has Dan Martin in the team. Has shown his ability on climbs.

Serge Pauwels ($51) – Will be hunting stage wins.

Nicolas Edet – ($67) – In good form. Showed his strength in the Dauphine. Was able to climb with the GC guys too. Seems to be in the form of his life. Will hunt breaks and could be strong enough here.

Tiejs Benoot ($151) – Benoot has said he is aiming for stage wins. He is a solid climber and could end up looking for the jersey.

Jelle Vanendert ($501) – One must not underestimate Vanendert. Held this jersey for 5 stages back in 2011. Has shown this year he is potentially back up to that level.

3. Riders supporting GC guys

If their leader crashes out early on, then these riders will be chasing stage wins and could be good enough to win the jersey.

Omar Fraile ($26) – Has won the KOM jersey at the Vuelta twice. Has climbed even better this year and will definitely be a threat should Fuglsang crash out.

Pierre Rolland ($26) – Has won this jersey before. If Uran crashes out you can expect Rolland to hunt stages and he’s good enough here.

Pierre Latour ($67) – If Bardet crashes out then you have Latour who will end up hunting for stages and could pick up the jersey.

Of course if contenders for the yellow jersey lose too much time, they could end up going for the jersey and could feature people like Dan Martin, Richie Porte, Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde, Mikel Landa, Adam Yates, Chris Froome.

Like all KOM jersey’s, this is wide open.

As for my predictions. With the way Edet has been riding, I think he is strong enough to take this.

Predictions

  1. Nicolas Edet
  2. Primoz Roglic
  3. Thomas De Gendt

 

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