Team and green jersey points changes call for new strategies
World champion Thor Hushovd was in Paris for Tour de France route presentation on Tuesday and outlined sprint stages and a possible yellow jersey during the first week as his main aims for the race.
Hushovd attended the presentation with his team boss for next year, Jonathan Vaughters. The pair will work together after Cervélo TestTeam ended their sponsorship of a ProTour team this year. Several Cervélo riders, including Hushovd, will ride for Vaughters as part of Garmin-Cervélo in 2011.
"I think it's a hard route, a hard Tour but I like the first week," Hushovd told Cyclingnews.
"There are two, maybe three chances for me where there are a couple of climbs near the finishes. After we hit the Massif Central there are not that many chances left for me or the other sprinters. The Pyrenees and the Alps are going to be very hard."
Hushovd has twice the won the points jersey in the Tour de France (2005 and 2009) but with another strong sprinter in Tyler Farrar on his team for next year, the pair will have to work together.
Along with team and personnel changes, the point classification has been altered for next year. In 2011, stage wins will gather 45 instead of 40 points. However, the biggest change involves intermediate sprints. In previous years, six, four and two points were awarded at three intermediate sprints per stage. Next year, there will be just one intermediate sprint per stage with 20 points going to the winner and 15 riders also picking up points on a sliding scale.
"There are a lot of changes to the green jersey classification and that will change a lot but right now I don't know what will happen," Hushovd said.
"There are a couple of stages where I will focus 100 per cent. I think for Tyler, if he starts well he can go for the green jersey. Stage one and then the three or four are for me and then stage five or six could be for me. I'll do everything I can to be ready for those days.
"We have a really strong team on paper, we just have to work together and then I'm sure we can fight for the win and the yellow jersey in the time trial."
Vaughters' team has ridden three consecutive Tours and although constantly placing riders in the top ten overall, they've failed to win a single stage or wear yellow - something they'll be looking to address during the first week of next year's race.
"I'll take it whenever it comes, I'm not picky. We've still not won a stage in the Tour but we'll put an incredible effort into training for the team time trial, we always do, but there's obviously some very good finishes for our team in that first week too," Vaughters told Cyclingnews.
As for the changes to the points jersey, both Vaughters and Hushovd have yet to analyze its implications. The Garmin boss did add: "But the changes to the green jersey are fascinating. You look at it now with the intermediate sprints and potentially Haussler, Hushovd, Lancaster, Farrar can all go in breakaways. It puts a lot of pressure on Columbia to chase while we can use a lot of different tactics. It's our job to mix it up a little bit."
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