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Tour de France: Age no barrier to Cavendish green jersey hopes

| 23.06.2015

Slovak rider Peter Sagan won the points classification at the Tour de France in his first three attempts, becoming only the second man to do so and the first in consecutive years, but history is against the 25-year-old repeating the feat next month.

Only one rider has claimed Le Tour’s green jersey four years on the bounce, with Germany’s Erik Zabel managing as much on his way to seven straight points classification triumphs, although the former Team Telekom staple later admitted to doping during those victories.

Despite besting all around him since 2012, Sagan is a backable 4/5 favourite to claim another ‘maillot vert’ in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe at the end of July, a price indicative of the competition he faces within the sprint ranks.

Team Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff will go into the Tour de France after starting the season like a train, finishing second at ‘Spring Classic’ Milan-San Remo, winning the Tour of Flanders and gatecrashing the top ten in the teak tough ‘Hell of the North’ Paris-Roubaix.

The Olympic Bronze medalist made a splash when taking stages 12 and 15 at last year’s tour, sandwiching successful climbs from eventual overall winner Vincenzo Nibali and ‘King of the Mountains’ Rafal Majka in stages 13 and 14.

However, former points classification winner and runner-up Mark Cavendish must be the value at 8/1 to halt Sagan’s run, compared to 7/2 about Norway’s finest Kristoff.

‘The Manx Missile’ had either won or finished second in four Tour de France outings of five prior to 2014, when his green jersey tilt was cruelly cut short after a first-stage crash.

Cavendish already has a points classification victory over Sagan in his back pocket from the Tour of California in May, when the Isle of Man native insisted “things are going in the right direction ahead of the Tour de France.”

His Etixx-Quick Step team house a number of top talents to aid him along the way, including former green jersey winner Tom Boonen, time-trial expert Tony Martin and talented Colombian Rigoberto Uran.

Don’t worry about Cavendish turning 30 last month; the three riders who took the points classification prior to his 2011 victory were older, with Alessandro Petacchi all of 36-years-old when he won in 2010.

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Iain Houten

Iain has been contributing pieces to various websites on an array of subjects, including sports, politics and art, for over four years. Despite blue being his favourite colour, the teams he supports all wear red.