Saturday, June 28, 2008

Green with Envy

The first week of the tour generally see's the men in green come to the forefront. The flat stages before we hit the steeper stuff lends itself to the rock stars of the cycling world as they fly down the finishing straight, or sometimes bend, for the glory of the maillot vert. The green jersey came about in the 1953 edition and becasue the sponsor was a lawn mower producer the color decided on was green. The exception to this was in 1968 where it went over to red again to satisfy the sponsor. So with color established how did the riders actually get hold of the elusive jersey. In the start the system was a penalty calculation!! Thats right, you were penalized for poor placings and the person with the least points was the winner in the end. In 1959 the system as we know it today, the winner gets the most points and then it less points for each place, came into play. the intermediate sprints that come up during a stage started with an additional jersey, red, but was eventually joined together with the green jersey.
Why are the Belgium's so batty about cycling? Well the answer could lie in the fact that they have worn the green leading into the Arc de Triomphe on more occasions than any other nation. The greman Eric Zabel though has dominated the sprinters jersey, who according to cyclingnews is set to hang up the boots come the end of this Tour. He did not relinquish the jersey between 1996 and 2001.

Next Belgiums at the Tour...
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