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The Story of the Škoda Green Jersey and the Legend of Peter Sagan

By We Love Cycling

If you image search the web for Peter Sagan, a 30-year-old Slovak professional racing cyclist, the results will be dominated by the colour green. The reason is obvious – Peter holds the world record for the most Škoda Green Jerseys collected at the Tour de France. The “sprinter’s” jersey requires an all-round set of skills, creativity in the saddle and impressive leg power so how does one keep winning it year after year when the stage routes change dramatically? Let’s take it from the top.

The Tour de France jerseys and their backstories are legends in their own right, but the maillot vert enjoys a special attention as it came to life right after its most sought-after yellow general classification sibling, and among tumultuous decisions. One could say that the Green Jersey is the result of Le Tour organizers striving to make the race more just and intriguing at the same time. Originally, the Tour’s winner was determined by a time system, which later changed to a points system that only lasted until 1912 and was rolled back to a time system still used today. To reintroduce the points and add a bit more thrill to the event, the organizers introduced it as an additional points classification in 1953, a year that also marked the Tour’s 50th anniversary.

1953 Tour
The 1953 Tour de France was the first to introduce a points classification system. © Profimedia

As we mentioned before, the points are won during the intermediate sprint and at stage arrivals. The colour green was ultimately chosen, funnily enough, because the original sponsor was a lawn-mower producer. 1968 is the only year the jersey was not green: red was chosen to match a new sponsor. Regarding today’s sponsor, Škoda presently dons the mantle. Originally a bicycle workshop established in 1895, Škoda eventually became Tour de France’s official partner and official vehicle partner in 2004 and further strengthened their commitment to cycling by sponsoring the Škoda “sprinter’s” Green Jersey since 2014.

The pro cycling world is known for passion, talent, physical prowess and endurance, but not many of the top-class riders are known outside of their trophies and titles. Enter Peter Sagan, with his ever-present half smile and outgoing nature. Besides being a cycling prodigy, Peter is something of a multi-disciplinary artist, releasing music covers, educational videos or the recent Giro d’Italia invitation where he was not afraid to show off his acting chops. Just a quick YouTube search will flood you with videos of Peter getting “crowned” by the famed Green Jersey, the feisty peloton moments, and his signature quirky finish-line gimmicks.

Peter Sagan
Sagan and his ever-present smile. © Profimedia

Originally a junior cyclo-cross and mountain bike racing competitor from 2009, Sagan eventually fully switched to road racing and became the legend we know today. He’s a noted cycling sprinter and Classics specialist, with multiple stage, World and European title wins under his belt. Regarding the Tour de France’s Škoda Green Jersey, officially called points classification, a rider who craves it needs to be extremely adaptable, willing to give it all and has to possess a set of specific skills, which basically describes Peter to a T. Winning the Green Jersey is a difficult and complex task which depends on many factors, but the mechanics of it is clear – the points are awarded for high finishes in a stage and for winning intermediate sprints, the latter being where Sagan excels. He’s been known to racking up points at flat stage stretches, dubbed “Škoda sprints” because the car manufacturer has been the Green Jersey’s official sponsor since 2014.

Sagan started his Green Jersey winning streak in 2012. In 2018, after years of stellar successes, he rounded up his days in the Green Jersey up to a hundred. And a year later, Peter made history when he won the Tour de France points classification for the seventh time, making it a world record. No other cyclist can boast a similar result; German cyclist Erik Zabel is the closest with six. Besides the Tour de France, Sagan further has sixteen Grand Tour stage victories!

Do you think anyone can beat him this year? Or will you root for Peter Sagan to win his record eighth Škoda Green Jersey? Let us know in the comments!