At the unveiling of the 2015 Tour de France route in Paris, race organiser ASO confirmed a change to the green jersey points classification for the nine flat stages of 2015 race.
Race director Christian Prudhomme hinted that there would be changes in an interview with Cyclingnews in September after Peter Sagan dominated the competition during the last three editions of the Tour.
The changes favour stage winners and will only be in place for the nine flat stages of the race. The winner of the stage will score 50 points, 20 more than the second placed rider, who will score 30 points, boosting the stage winner's points total and rewarding stage winners more than rider who place consistently.
The first 15 riders to cross the finish line to be rewarded with 50, 30, 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 points respectively on the nine flat stages. The remaining 12 stages will continue to award points in the same distribution from 2012 to 2014 when the classification was last changed with 45, 35, 30, 26, 22, 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 points to the first 15 riders across the line.
Tour course director Thierry Gouvenou explained the rationale for the changes to the flat stages.
"We have made some changes to the green jersey competition next year," Govenou said. "When we are almost certain that the stage will end in a sprint, we will add a little bonus to first place."
"Previously we've had 45, 35 and 30 points for the top three positions respectively. Now we will award 50, 30 and 20 points. The person who wins the stage will have a bigger advantage over the others, and it's something which brings the pure sprinters back into the frame for the green jersey."
The first week of the race will also see the reintroduction of time bonus for the first time since 2007. Bonifications will be awarded at the finishes of the second to eighth stages. The bonuses will be of ten, six and four seconds for the first three of each of these stages, giving the sprinters a chance of wearing the yellow jersey and possibly sparking daily changes in the race leadership during the opening eight days of the 2015 Tour.