• Last year's mountain classification winner Rafal Majka (Getty)Source: Getty
The 52 categorised climbs are steep and if you’re eyeing off the maillot blanc à pois rouges, your attacks will need to be timed to perfection. This is gearing up to be a Tour de France to entertain and delight.
By
Jane Aubrey

Source:
Cycling Central
30 Jun 2017 - 9:53 AM  UPDATED 30 Jun 2017 - 9:59 AM

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There are 53 categorised climbs in this 104th edition of the Tour de France and three summit finishes. The ASO is aiming to deliver a race where fortune favours the brave – it’s go big or go home. The climbs are steep and if you’re eyeing off the maillot blanc à pois rouges, your attacks will need to be timed to perfection. This is gearing up to be a Tour de France to entertain and delight.

There has been a slight change to the maximum points attained for Hors Catégorie climbs, dipping to 20 from the 25 previously awarded. Double points only exist on the stage 18 Col d'Izoard finish meaning it will be firmly in the sights of the serious contenders for the mountain classification.

The GC favourites - Richie Porte (BMC), Chris Froome (Team Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Romain Bardet (AG2R – La Mondiale) - will also be in with a shot for the polka dot jersey, but here is a look at the other riders who will be chasing points on the climbs.

Rafal Majka (BORA - hansgrohe)
Tour de France stage wins: 2
The Polish rider has twice won the mountains classification at the Tour (2014, 2016) and following his form at the Tour of Slovenia in June, looms once more as a genuine threat. Majka’s attacking style is well-suited to this year’s Tour and along with teammate Peter Sagan who is chasing a sixth green jersey, will ensure that BORA - hansgrohe is never too far from the action.

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
Tour de France stage wins: 2
While there was talk of Pinot skipping this year’s Tour, the 27-year-old is back with just one day of racing in the bank following his debut Giro d’Italia tilt. Pinot was strong at the Giro, finishing fourth overall. His surge to take the win on stage 20 over the likes of Nairo Quintana (Movistar) will be a confidence boost.

Esteban Chaves (ORICA – Scott)
Tour de France stage wins: 0
Making his debut, Chaves will carry the hopes of Australian cycling fans in the mountains classification. With Simon Yates also chasing the white jersey, expect the Brit to be beside Chaves for as long as possible. A knee injury resulted in Chaves riding only the Critérium du Dauphiné following the Sun Tour in February. That’s not a lot of racing for someone of Chaves’ ambition.

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal)
Tour de France stage wins: 1
Runner-up in the battle for the polka dot jersey to Majka in 2016, DeGendt arrives at the Tour a year later in arguably better form. The breakaway specialist claimed victory Mount Ventoux in 2016, and while the mythical climb won’t feature this time around, De Gendt’s engine is sure to get a workout.

Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb)
Tour de France stage wins: 0
The Frenchman is a bit of a smokey for the mountains classification but the style of racing generated by this year’s parcours means that just like in the Giro, Sunweb will be in the action when the road heads up. Barguil showed no adverse effects of the fractured pelvis he sustained at the Tour de Romandie when he returned at the Critérium du Dauphiné and he should have numbers around him on the climbs.

Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie)
Tour de France stage wins: 4
Love him or loathe him, this will be the plucky Frenchman’s last Tour de France. Winner of the mountains classification in 2012, Voeckler’s cunning will be key if he’s to repeat five years later. How much of a show we get is anyone’s guess but there is little doubt that Voeckler will be the protagonist.

Pierre Rolland (Cannondale–Drapac)
Tour de France stage wins: 2
Third in the mountains classification in 2013, Rolland is the strongest of three possibilities for the Cannondale-Drapac outfit in the battle for the polka dot jersey. Rolland, unlike Rigoberto Uran and Andrew Talansky has ridden a grand tour already this year, and while that makes for a lot of racing, it’s not unchartered territory for the Frenchman.

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