Friday, July 17, 2009

17 July 2009: Definition

Today's Tour stage was interesting with that German/Aussie guy going way out the front and weeping as he crossed the line in first.

Further back down, Lance looked very strong in a reasonably-mountainous stage, but in the green jersey fight the battle seems to be twofold: one battle between Cavendish and Hushovd, and a secondary battle for the definition of the green jersey - is it for the "best sprinter" or "most consistent daily finisher"?

Back when I started following the race, there was a red jersey more purely for the sprinters, and the green jersey would usually be won by Sean Kelly. Since 1989, there's been no red jersey, and they upped the points in the flat stages and intermediate sprints for the green jersey. So it's a battle of definitions...

So today, up in the mountains, we saw that Hushovd is strong enough to remain there or thereabouts, at least when there aren't the absolute toughest mountains. Today he finished in the first main bunch (alongside Lance, Contador and the rest) and takes the green jersey back off Cavendish by five points. Tomorrow is flat-ish again, and Cavendish might take it back again. Sunday we're in the mountains, so...

There's no question that Cavendish is the fastest man in the race. But Hushovd is probably the most consistent sprint-and-hang in there guy. So which category will win green when it comes to Paris?

Hard to say, but with more mountains than flat stages left, the smart money might just have to be on Hushovd, even if Cavendish wins on the Champs-Elysees in nine days' time.

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