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60 years of green


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The Tour de France is celebrating its 100th edition but there are other anniversaries unfolding when the 2013 race gets underway. The green jersey, presented to the winner of the points classification, is one such example. This year is the 60th year that the 'maillot vert' is a prize for the best sprinter.

Stories of all kinds unfold during the Tour de France. In 1903, the readers of l'Auto were captivated by this new kind of sporting contest and all the associated yarns that emerged. Since the yellow jersey was first unveiled on the race in 1919, it has been focus of the best rider and it has become a universal symbol of excellence. Still, anecdotes about failures, victories and all else in between continue to stir the emotions of the public.
In 1953, during the 50th anniversary of the race, a new prize became part of the contest: something that served to inspire riders with a different kind of strength. As well as rewarding the man with the lowest aggregate time, the organisers conjured an entirely new prize category. But it was not the first time that points replaced time in the regulations: from 1905 to 1912, the overall winner of the Tour was determined by an allocation of points. Sixty years ago, however, the idea was to create a new classification and the green jersey was the prize.
The rules have been altered and the allocation of points has varied over the years but the basic premise remains: to reward consistency and enable a rider with different characteristics to stand on the podium and be recognised for their strengths.
The first winner of the points classification was the Swiss rider, Fritz Schaer. And the green jersey soon became the award for the most consistent sprinter. For 60 years now, the fastest men have battled for the honour of what has become a special prize in the world's biggest race. André Darrigade left his mark on the honour roll, as did Eddy Merckx, Freddy Maertens, Sean Kelly and Djamolodine Abdoujaparov. More recently, Erik Zabel imposed himself as King of the Sprints by winning six successive titles from 1996 to 2001. Then came the time for Australia's fast men to show themselves with Robbie McEwen winning the green jersey three times (2002, 2004 and 2006) while Baden Cooke beat his compatriot for the title in the Tour's centenary edition (2003). Thor Hushovd has won on many levels at the Tour: a prologue, from an escape, sprints and a team time trial and he's also picked up two green jerseys during his time on Tour – sealing his second success, in fact, with a powerful display in the mountains.
Of course, the most recent winners are the sprint maestro Mark Cavendish and young Slovakian sensation Peter Sagan... names that won't be forgotten in the history of the Tour de France.

Passion Jersey Green: Green Jersey A to Z
Since 1991 the sponsor of the green jersey has been PMU and it celebrates the longevity of its partnership with the release of a special book about the points classification and the efforts of the sprinters who have won. It includes a collection of nearly 200 photographs and illustrations that allow the reader to relive the exploits of Darrigade, Kelly, McEwen and others. It features anecdotes about the competition, chronicled from A to Z.
It reminds readers that, although the points classification is 60 years old, the green jersey itself won't celebrate its 60th anniversary… not quiet yet as, in 1968, the prize was a red jersey instead.
The book includes a foreword written by author and sports lover Philippe Delerm and the beautiful book ends with an afterword by race director Christian Prudhomme.

The news in pictures


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Jersey wearers after the stage 21

Classifications after the stage 21


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These five riders have won sprint stages of the 100th Tour de France. Of these five, who do you think will win in Paris?

  • Marcel Kittel14.93%
  • Simon Gerrans1.08%
  • Mark Cavendish54.21%
  • André Greipel5.5%
  • Peter Sagan24.28%
14123 votes

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