- Peter Sagan in the lead
- Time for Mark Cavendish
- New rules for sprinters in this year’s Tour
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) is running out of stages. In an almost complete repeat of 2014, the Slovakian pulled on a Green Jersey without even winning a stage.
Three second places, two thirds and a fourth have seen Sagan pull ahead of André Greipel in the points classification, but he once again seemed to let opportunity slip away with a fourth place finish in Saturday’s Stage 8 after the other sprinters had already fallen away.
Meanwhile, Chris Froome (Team Sky) held on to the Yellow Jersey by 11 seconds over Sagan.
Mark Cavendish is considered one of the finest sprinters of his generation, possibly even the best. Entering the 2015 Tour de France, he was third in all-time stage wins, with 25 total victories.
But the last time Cavendish won a stage was Stage 13 of the 2013 Tour de France (last year he crashed in Harrogate on the opening day). Although he hasn’t lacked for victories since then, he hasn’t taken them like he did in his early years, leading to whispers that he’s been eclipsed by riders like Sagan, Alexander Kristoff or Marcel Kittel as the best sprinter in cycling.
Friday’s Stage 7 win has pushed back strongly against these stories. In a classic field sprint, Cavendish did what he does best, fighting through traffic to give himself a clean line to the finish, where he proved unbeatable. That win puts him in third place going into Stage 10 from Tarbes to La Pierre-Saint-Martin.
New Sprinting Rules
Starting this year the Tour will award more points to the winner of a flat stage and less to the second and third place finishers. Previously the top three places were awarded 45, 35 and 30 points respectively. Now they are awarded 50, 30 and 20 points. This means that the rider who wins the stage will have a greater advantage over the others, bringing pure sprinters back into contention for the Green Jersey.