The points and mountains prizes, have arguably provided more of a dogfight between rivals in the Armstrong era. John Kenny previews the riders in the frame for this year's sprinter's green jersey and the climber's polka dot jersey.
The Tour does not simply reward the rider with the shortest elapsed time over the three-weeks duration of the race. Some riders, and indeed entire teams, will target the sprinter's and mountain's prizes if they do not have a realistic chance of a high overall placing. The competition for the points and the mountains prizes are much more than a mere sideshow to the main event, the winners will stand alongside the yellow jersey winner in Paris as the top riders in their specialty.
The green jersey prize generally goes to the most consistent finisher, not necessarily the most prolific stage winner. Green jersey legends Sean Kelly and Erik Zabel founded their records on their relentless accumulation of points. Kelly won four green jerseys but only claimed five stages in his long career. Robbie McEwen (Davitamon - Lotto) and Tom Boonen (Quickstep - Innergetic) could provide the fireworks in the first week, but they will need to defend their points all the way to Paris by sprinting for small bonuses along the race route and for minor stage placings.
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