By Shane Stokes
Oscar Pereiro’s new leadership of the Tour de France brings the total number of different yellow jersey wearers to seven this year, and makes the setting of a new record more than possible.
So far Thor Hushovd, George Hincapie, Tom Boonen, Serguei Gonchar, Cyril Dessel, Floyd Landis and Pereiro have all worn the maillot jaune. Only at the Tours of 1958 and 1987 have there been more overall leaders, with eight.
The more recent of these editions saw Jelle Nijdam, Lech Piasecki, Erich Mächler, Charly Mottet, Martial Gayant, Jean-François Bernard and Pedro Delgado all enjoy stints in the yellow jersey before Stephen Roche reclaimed it in the final time trial.
Pereiro isn’t regarded as a likely winner of the Tour, although if he climbs better in the Alps than in the Pyrenees, he could well improve on his best overall placing of tenth, achieved in both 2004 and 2005. It is likely that the maillot jaune will once again change hands sometime between now and Paris.
A total of seven stages remain in the race. Should someone other than Landis be the next to wear yellow, that will equal the previous records. Another change will then total nine different maillots jaune, setting a new mark.