Last week, many might have thought that Peter Sagan only graciously lent the ŠKODA Green Jersey to Sam Bennett. However, today on September 11, it looks like the path has been paved for the 29-year-old Irishman to realize another one of his dreams. After winning the 10th stage, his first-ever triumph on the Tour, Sam Bennett might ride onto the Champs-Élysées wearing the Green.
The reason for Peter Sagan’s demise is due to the bunch sprint towards the finish line on stage 11. The Bora-Hansgrohe rider shouldered his way past Wout van Aert who was positioned close to the barriers. The fans disagree on just how much force Sagan actually used but the commissaries weren’t having it. Perhaps remembering the Fabio Jakobsen’s horrific crash at the Tour of Poland, they relegated Sagan to the last place in the group. The Slovak lost 30 points he’d earned with his second-place finish behind Caleb Ewan, plus he was awarded a 13-point penalty. Meanwhile, Sam Bennett moved up to Sagan’s finishing spot. The result? Bennett led the battle for the ŠKODA Green Jersey with 243 points, Sagan sat in second with 175.
We’re so used to see Peter Sagan in the ŠKODA Green Jersey at this point in the race, sometimes it feels like no-one is really challenging him for it. This time around however, it’s an entirely different situation. There’s a narrow path for him to follow to get back in the game, but it’s a tough one, for sure. There are three stages left that will possibly end in sprints. Stages 14, 19, and 21. These award points to the top 15 places (50-30-20-18-16-14-12-10-8-7-6-5-4-3-2). Stage 16 is a hillier one and features a reduced point scale (30-25-22-19-17-15-13-11-9-7-6-5-4-3-2). The rest are mountain stages where even Sagan won’t stand a chance. The time trial is also out of the question.
For the seven-time ŠKODA Green Jersey winner, it’s all about those intermediate sprint points and those four possible sprint stage finishes. He can’t win it all, of course, nor can he expect Bennett to score zero. However, Peter Sagan excels at consistency throughout the Tour. He has nine or more top-10 finishes each year he’s won the ŠKODA Green Jersey. His form seems to be improving with each passing day. And Bennett, let’s be honest, is a pure sprinter.
Everything needs to go well for Sagan in order for him to claim the Green. And honestly it is unlikely he’ll win. But you know, deep down, that you can never count him out. We’ll know by the end of the weekend, if he can still make a move. And if so, this will be the most entertaining battle for the ŠKODA Green Jersey in a long while.
The Points Classification after stage twelve
1. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) 252 pts
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 186 pts
3. Bryan Coquard (B &B Hotels–Vital Concept) 162 pts
4. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) 155 pts
5. Matteo Trentin (CCC Team) 146 pts
6. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 131 pts
7. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) 100 pts
8. Michael Mørkøv (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) 100 pts
9. Marc Hirschi (Team Sunweb) 90 pts
10. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) 88 pts