Is the King of the Mountains an also-ran?

by bikeboy76   July 27, 2014  

The King of the Mountains is the best climber in the Tour, right? This year I have had zero interest in who is in the polka dot jersey because the best climber is in yellow, its Nibali. He has won 4 stages but isn't winning this competition. It is pretty clear what the criteria for the yellow and white jerseys are. The Green jersey is said to be a sprinters jersey, though in reality it is for the most consistent finisher. Peter Sagan has evinced the spirit of this jersey by finish in the top 5 in the first week on sprints, climbs and pavé.

Meanwhile the KOM jersey passes hands between some breakaway riders, until we get to the high mountains where all the real points are. Then it comes down to who is low enough down on the GC to be not a threat. Yellow will attack if a mountain breakaway is considered a GC threat, so lower order riders are allowed to just scoop up points until the last climb which turns into a GC bunfight. The KOM jersey passes hands up the field until it gets to about 3/4/5/6th then stalls. I don't see how yellow dictating who can breakaway and who is reigned in makes it a prize to be cherished. As far as I am concerned the KOM is nearly always the yellow jersey (apart from 2012 when you-know-who took most of his time on the TTs.)

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The purpose of the KOM and points jerseys is to light up the race before the finish, for the enjoyment of spectators. Both of them essentially reward riders who will sprint for something other than the finish line. The jerseys are prized by riders who don't have a chance to win the GC. Sponsors like to see their riders in the KOM or points jerseys because they get more TV coverage during the race, and they get to stand on the podium every day.

I think most riders would prefer a stage win over a KOM jersey, given the choice.

posted by Derny [56 posts]
27th July 2014 - 17:24

3 Likes

I think the rider who is second on points should be called Prince of the Mountains and get to wear a purple beret.

posted by chokofingrz [287 posts]
27th July 2014 - 21:32

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Or a mountain-effect crown

posted by truffy [322 posts]
27th July 2014 - 21:46

1 Like

I can't remember which race it was but I'm sure I read that there was one trialling timed climb segments for its KOM title. So a bit stravaesque with whoever sets the shortest times (regardless of whether first or last over line) picking up the points.

I like it as would seem to reward best/fastest climber. Would need to combine with some sort of breakaway jersey to ensure the race was animated but would work better than the Giro's 'Energy Prize' for best time over last 3k which on sprint days effectively just awarded the sprinter with the poorest positioning.

posted by Billj [6 posts]
28th July 2014 - 9:22

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I see what you're getting at, but I feel this is a sign of the times. The fact is, most of the time gains are to be made when you can split the peloton, ergo in the mountains. Yellow should in theory go to the best all-rounder. but in reality, sprints don't come into it, and aggressiveness only to a certain extent. I suppose this year was a bit more 'all-round' than usual, due to the inclusion of cobbles. Personally, I'd love to (be good enough to!) wear a polka-dot jersey, even for a day.

I don't Wiggo is Lord Voldemort though! Also, he did climb well (if not explosively), and it could be argued that he showed himself to be an excellent all-rounder. He even led out Cav (not that this affected GC).

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3198 posts]
28th July 2014 - 10:01

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chokofingrz wrote:
I think the rider who is second on points should be called Prince of the Mountains and get to wear a purple beret.

Surely you mean a raspberry beret Wink

posted by d_jp [106 posts]
28th July 2014 - 13:22

3 Likes

No. The KOM jersey helps animate the race and is an amazing addition to any rider's palmares. At this level there are no 'also-rans'.

posted by miro_o [13 posts]
28th July 2014 - 13:48

4 Likes

d_jp wrote:
chokofingrz wrote:
I think the rider who is second on points should be called Prince of the Mountains and get to wear a purple beret.

Surely you mean a raspberry beret Wink

Dunno about that, second hand kit can be pretty nasty Wink

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posted by thesaladdays [19 posts]
28th July 2014 - 14:32

1 Like

Billj wrote:
I can't remember which race it was but I'm sure I read that there was one trialling timed climb segments for its KOM title. So a bit stravaesque with whoever sets the shortest times (regardless of whether first or last over line) picking up the points.

I like it as would seem to reward best/fastest climber. Would need to combine with some sort of breakaway jersey to ensure the race was animated but would work better than the Giro's 'Energy Prize' for best time over last 3k which on sprint days effectively just awarded the sprinter with the poorest positioning.

I had this exact thought the other day. Much better, in my opinion, and definitely do-able with modern timing technologies. Probably very difficult to do 30 years ago..

posted by DrJDog [127 posts]
28th July 2014 - 16:44

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DrJDog wrote:
Billj wrote:
I can't remember which race it was but I'm sure I read that there was one trialling timed climb segments for its KOM title. So a bit stravaesque with whoever sets the shortest times (regardless of whether first or last over line) picking up the points.

I like it as would seem to reward best/fastest climber. Would need to combine with some sort of breakaway jersey to ensure the race was animated but would work better than the Giro's 'Energy Prize' for best time over last 3k which on sprint days effectively just awarded the sprinter with the poorest positioning.

I had this exact thought the other day. Much better, in my opinion, and definitely do-able with modern timing technologies. Probably very difficult to do 30 years ago..

Doesn't really work for spectators, though. Instinctively more satisfying to watch someone going over the top of the climb and knowing they took the points, than waiting until everyone is through, and then finding out someone in the middle of the group somewhere was the winner.

posted by HKCambridge [140 posts]
28th July 2014 - 16:58

1 Like

Nope, it along with team and sprint prizes add an extra dimension to the tactics and also gives most teams something to go for instead of the yellow jersey. How dull would flat stages be if every team saved itself for the mountain stages?

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [293 posts]
28th July 2014 - 17:28

0 Likes

HKCambridge wrote:
DrJDog wrote:
Billj wrote:
I can't remember which race it was but I'm sure I read that there was one trialling timed climb segments for its KOM title. So a bit stravaesque with whoever sets the shortest times (regardless of whether first or last over line) picking up the points.

I like it as would seem to reward best/fastest climber. Would need to combine with some sort of breakaway jersey to ensure the race was animated but would work better than the Giro's 'Energy Prize' for best time over last 3k which on sprint days effectively just awarded the sprinter with the poorest positioning.

I had this exact thought the other day. Much better, in my opinion, and definitely do-able with modern timing technologies. Probably very difficult to do 30 years ago..

Doesn't really work for spectators, though. Instinctively more satisfying to watch someone going over the top of the climb and knowing they took the points, than waiting until everyone is through, and then finding out someone in the middle of the group somewhere was the winner.

Not sure spectators are really that worried about the points, don't think the thousands on buttertubs were there just to see whether Jensie could pick up the 2 points. In fact could work better for spectators on climbs, as unless late in the race often the peleton just rides tempo up the climbs, whereas this would provide incentive to attack. As I said, would still want a breakaway award to encourage Jens and others to animate the race but would make KOM the quickest up hills rather than being an award for the best climber far enough down in GC to be allowed to escape.

Jersey for best descender could be interesting! If, perhaps, a little dangerous.

posted by Billj [6 posts]
28th July 2014 - 18:10

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I think it's worth noting that Nibali was second in the KoM, given that he was going for overall his main worry was getting the mountain top finishes in front of his closest rivals. If someone was two bike lengths in front of him going over a 10km climb 30km from finish wouldn't worry him.

brockhurst5

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posted by brockhurst5 [17 posts]
28th July 2014 - 20:13

1 Like

thesaladdays wrote:
d_jp wrote:
chokofingrz wrote:
I think the rider who is second on points should be called Prince of the Mountains and get to wear a purple beret.

Surely you mean a raspberry beret Wink

Dunno about that, second hand kit can be pretty nasty Wink

I don't think this was given the credit it deserved, it seems to have drifted under the radar.

Excellent work, Salad days.

posted by farrell [1457 posts]
28th July 2014 - 21:17

1 Like

chokofingrz wrote:
I think the rider who is second on points should be called Prince of the Mountains and get to wear a purple beret.

Would the rider who gets the beret effectively have a purple reign? while wearing it? #seewhatIdidthere

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posted by lisa76uk [37 posts]
28th July 2014 - 22:56

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