If the race for yellow is wide open, then the battle for the maillot vert is anything but, writes Jane Aubrey.
By
Jane Aubrey

2 Jul 2019 - 10:33 AM 

Can anyone beat Peter Sagan as he targets a record seventh points classification win at the 2019 Tour de France?

That’s the challenge for just a handful of fast men this year. 

While there are plenty of in-form sprinters lining up in Brussels, only a few are capable of wearing green on the podium in Paris.

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How the points will be accumulated –

The flat stages  - 1, 4, 7, 11, 16, 17 and 21 – offer 50 points for the first man across the finish line, 30 points for second and 20 points for third down to 15th place who will receive 1 point.

The medium mountain stages - 3, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 12 - offer a more balanced points allocation with 30 points for first, 25 for second, 22 for third down to 2 points for the 15th placed rider.

Mountain stages - 6, 14, 15, 18,1 9, and 20 - give the winner 20 points, 17 points for second, 15 for third down to 1 point for the 15th placed rider across the line.

The Individual Time Trial on Stage 13 has the same points allocation as mountain stages while each intermediate sprint, existing on all stages bar the time trials, allocates 20 points for first, 17 for second, 15 points for third down to 1 for the 15th placed rider.

Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma

Career Grand Tour stage wins: 3

2019 wins: 10

Of all the green jersey contenders, no one has had more stage wins this season than Groenewegen. He tuned up nicely for the Tour de France at the ZLM tour where he took two stage victories to Caleb Ewan's one.

His highlight for the season was his Driedaagse de Panne victory. There, Groenewegen was in good company, seeing off Viviani and Fernando Gaviria. The Dutchman abandoned last year’s Tour on Stage 12, and seventh remains his best finish in the points classification in 2017. He’s high on confidence at the moment, but will it be enough to see him challenge Sagan?

Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb

Career Grand Tour stage wins: 8

2019 wins: 2

Hard to know what to think about the Aussie’s chances following a somewhat perplexing interview a few weeks back with a Dutch broadcaster where he said he was “totally confused” following Dumoulin’s withdrawal and hadn’t been training specifically for sprints. Sunweb is one of the most professional line-ups in the peloton, and surely they wouldn’t have left Matthews high and dry before July? Matthews remains Sunweb’s best hope for stage wins, and it’s his dynamic ability that keeps him in contention for the green.

 

Peter Sagan (Svk) BORA – hansgrohe

Career Grand Tour stage wins: 15

2019 wins: 3

Should Sagan win his seventh green jersey this year, he will stand alone in the category, having surpassed the record of Erik Zabel from 1996-2001. The signs are good with the Slovakian claiming the points classification at the Tour de Suisse as he has every year since 2011 except for 2016. Hard to bet against him in July.

Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck – QuickStep

Career Grand Tour stage wins: 8

2019 wins: 6

It will be the Italian’s first appearance at the Tour de France since 2014, and it will be interesting to see if Deceuninck – QuickStep’s domination of the World Tour scene in 2019 translates into the team mounting a genuine challenge for the green jersey. Viviani is having a good season and was runner-up to Sagan for the points classification at the Tour de Suisse. Likely to be a stage-by-stage proposition.