Mountains classification in the Tour de France

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Polka dot jersey
Fabian Wegmann Bergtrikot.jpg
Award details
Sport Road Cycling
Competition Tour de France
Given for Best climber in mountain stages
Local name Maillot à pois rouges (French)
History
First award 1933
Editions 74
First winner  Vicente Trueba (ESP)
Most wins

 Richard Virenque (FRA)

7 times
Most recent  Nairo Quintana (COL)

The Mountains classification in the Tour de France is a secondary classification in the Tour de France, in which cyclists receive points for reaching a mountain top first. The leader of the classification is named the "King of the Mountains", and since 1975 wears the polka dot jersey (French: maillot à pois rouges), a white jersey with red dots.

History[edit]

The first Tour de France crossed no mountain passes, but several lesser cols. The first was the col des Echarmeaux (712 m (2,336 ft)), on the opening stage from Paris to Lyon, on what is now the old road from Autun to Lyon. The stage from Lyon to Marseille included the col de la République (1,161 m (3,809 ft)), also known as the col du Grand Bois, at the edge of St-Etienne. The first major climb—the Ballon d'Alsace (1,178 m (3,865 ft)) in the Vosges[1] — was featured in the 1905 race. True mountains, however, were not included until the Pyrenees in 1910. In that year the race rode, or more walked, first the col d'Aubisque and then the nearby Tourmalet. Desgrange once more stayed away. Both climbs were mule tracks, a demanding challenge on heavy, ungeared bikes ridden by men with spare tires around their shoulders and their food, clothing and tools in bags hung from their handlebars. The assistant organiser, Victor Breyer, stood at the summit of the Aubisque with the colleague who had proposed including the Pyrenees, Alphonse Steinès.[2] Desgrange was confident enough after the Pyrenees to include the Alps in 1911.[3]

The highest climb in the race was the Cime de la Bonette-Restefond in the 1962 Tour de France, reaching 2802 m.[4] The highest mountain finish in the Tour was at the Col du Galibier in the 2011 edition.[5]

Since 1905, the organising newspaper l'Auto named one cyclist of the Tour de France the meilleur grimpeur (best climber).[6] In 1933, Vicente Trueba was the winner of this classification. However, Trueba was a very poor descender, so he never gained anything from reaching the tops first. The Tour de France director, Henri Desgrange, decided that cyclists should receive a bonus for reaching the tops first. From 1934 on, the gap between the first and the second cyclist to reach the top was given as a time bonus to the one reaching the top first. These time bonuses were later removed, but the King of the Mountain recognition remained.[7] Although the best climber was first recognised in 1933, the distinctive jersey was not introduced until 1975. The colours were decided by the then sponsor, Chocolat Poulain, whose chocolate bars were covered in a polka dot wrapper.[8] Currently the jersey is sponsored by Carrefour supermarkets, which has sponsored the jersey since 1993, initially under the Champion brand, it switched to the main Carrefour brand for the 2009 edition of the Tour. The Tour's jersey colours have also been adopted by other cycling stage races; for example, the Tour of Britain also has a polka dot jersey.

Current situation[edit]

At the top of each climb in the Tour, there are points for the riders who are first over the top. The climbs are divided into categories from 1 (most difficult) to 4 (least difficult) based on their difficulty, measured as a function of their steepness and length. A few of the toughest climbs were originally given different individual points scales, and were thus listed as "uncategorised" (Hors catégorie, a term that has since passed into the French language to refer to any exceptional phenomenon); however, since the 1980s in fact the hors catégorie climbs have been given a single points scale and effectively became, despite the name, just a top category above category 1. In 2004, the scoring system was changed such that the first rider over a fourth category climb was awarded 3 points while the first to complete a hors catégorie climb would win 20 points. Further points over a fourth category climb are only for the top three places while on a hors catégorie climb the top ten riders are rewarded. Since 2004, points scored on the final climb of the day have been doubled where that climb was at least a second category climb.[9]

Distribution of points[edit]

The points that are gained by consecutive riders reaching a mountain top are distributed according to the following classification:

Point Distribution Grid as of 2012[10]
4C 3C 2C 1C HC
1st 1 2 5 10 25
2nd 1 3 8 20
3rd 2 6 16
4th 1 4 14
5th 2 12
6th 1 10
7th 8
8th 6
9th 4
10th 2

The points for a mountain top finish are doubled, if that mountain is an HC, 1C or 2C. The organisation of the race determines which mountains are included for the mountains classification and in which category they are.

If two riders have an equal number of points, the rider with the most first places on the hors catégorie cols, is declared winner. If the riders arrived first, an equal number of times, the first places on the 1st category cols are compared. Should the two riders again have an equal number of first arrivals in this category, the organization looks at mutual results in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th category, until a winner is found. If the number of first arrivals in all categories is equal for both riders, the rider with the highest position in the overall list of rankings receives the mountain jersey.

Up until 2011 the points that are gained by climbing the mountains were distributed according to the following classification:

  • Hors Catégorie climbs: 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 7, 6 and 5 points respectively for the 1st until the 10th rider to climb the mountain
  • First category climbs: 15, 13, 11, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5 points respectively for the 1st until the 8th rider to climb the mountain
  • Second category climbs: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5 points respectively for the 1st until the 6th rider to climb the mountain
  • Third category climbs and hills : 4, 3, 2 and 1 point, respectively for the 1st until the 4th rider to climb the hill
  • Fourth category climbs (hills): 3, 2, and 1 point, respectively for the 1st until the 3rd rider to climb the hill.

Criticism of the system[edit]

In recent years, the system has had some criticism. Six-time winner Lucien Van Impe said that the mountain jersey has been devalued, because it goes to cyclists who have no hope to win the general classification so are allowed to escape and gather points in breakaways. This tactic was started by cyclists such as Laurent Jalabert and Richard Virenque, but according to Van Impe, they were really able to climb.[11]

Winners of the Mountains classification[edit]

Repeat winners[edit]

Rank Name Country Wins Years
1 Richard Virenque  France 7 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2004
2 Federico Bahamontes  Spain 6 1954, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1964
Lucien Van Impe  Belgium 6 1971, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1981, 1983
4 Julio Jiménez  Spain 3 1965, 1966, 1967
5 Felicien Vervaecke  Belgium 2 1935, 1937
Gino Bartali  Italy 2 1938, 1948
Fausto Coppi  Italy 2 1949, 1952
Charly Gaul  Luxembourg 2 1955, 1956
Imerio Massignan  Italy 2 1960, 1961
Eddy Merckx  Belgium 2 1969, 1970
Luis Herrera  Colombia 2 1985, 1987
Claudio Chiappucci  Italy 2 1991, 1992
Laurent Jalabert  France 2 2001, 2002
Michael Rasmussen  Denmark 2 2005, 2006

List of cyclists named meilleurs grimpeurs[edit]

This list shows the cyclists who were chosen meilleur grimpeur by the newspaper l'Auto. Although l'Auto was organising the Tour de France, the meilleur grimpeur title was not given by the tour organisation, so it is unofficial. However, it is a direct predecessor of the later Mountain King title. [12][13]

Rider Team
1905 France Pottier, ReneRené Pottier (FRA)
1906 France Pottier, ReneRené Pottier (FRA)
1907 France Georget, EmileEmile Georget (FRA)
1908 France Garrigou, GustaveGustave Garrigou (FRA)
1909 Luxembourg Faber, FrancoisFrançois Faber (LUX)
1910 France Lapize, OctaveOctave Lapize (FRA)
1911 France Duboc, PaulPaul Duboc (FRA)
1912 Belgium Defraeye, OdielOdiel Defraeye (BEL)
1913 Belgium Thys, PhilippePhilippe Thys (BEL)
1914 Belgium Lambot, FirminFirmin Lambot (BEL)
1919 France Barthelemy, HonoreHonoré Barthélemy (FRA)
1920 Belgium Lambot, FirminFirmin Lambot (BEL)
1921 Belgium Heusghem, HectorHector Heusghem (BEL)
1922 France Alavoine, JeanJean Alavoine (FRA)
1923 France Pelissier, HenriHenri Pélissier (FRA)
1924 Italy Bottecchia, OttavioOttavio Bottecchia (ITA)
1925 Italy Bottecchia, OttavioOttavio Bottecchia (ITA)
1926 Belgium Buysse, LucienLucien Buysse (BEL)
1927 Italy Gordini, Giovanni-MicheleGiovanni-Michele Gordini (ITA)
1928 France Fontan, VictorVictor Fontan (FRA)
1929 France Fontan, VictorVictor Fontan (FRA)
1930 France Faure, BenoitBenoît Fauré (FRA)
1931 Belgium Demuysere, JosephJoseph Demuysere (BEL)
1932 Spain Trueba, VicenteVicente Trueba (ESP)

Winners of the Mountains classification by year[edit]

Rider Team
1933 Spain Trueba, VicenteVicente Trueba (ESP) Touriste-routier
1934 France Vietto, ReneRené Vietto (FRA) France
1935 Belgium Vervaecke, FelicienFélicien Vervaecke (BEL) Belgium
1936 Spain Berrendero, JulianJulian Berrendero (ESP) Spain–Luxembourg
1937 Belgium Vervaecke, FelicienFélicien Vervaecke (BEL) Belgium
1938 Italy Bartali, GinoGino Bartali (ITA) Italy
1939 Belgium Maes, SylvereSylvere Maes (BEL) Belgium
1947 France Brambilla, PierrePierre Brambilla (FRA) Italy
1948 Italy Bartali, GinoGino Bartali (ITA) Italy
1949 Italy Coppi, FaustoFausto Coppi (ITA) Italy
1950 France Bobet, LouisonLouison Bobet (FRA) France
1951 France Geminiani, RaphaelRaphaêl Géminiani (FRA) France
1952 Italy Coppi, FaustoFausto Coppi (ITA) Italy
1953 Spain Loroño, JesusJésus Loroño (ESP) Spain
1954 Spain Bahamontes, FedericoFederico Bahamontes (ESP) Spain
1955 Luxembourg Gaul, CharlyCharly Gaul (LUX) Luxembourg–Mixed
1956 Luxembourg Gaul, CharlyCharly Gaul (LUX) Luxembourg–Mixed
1957 Italy Nencini, GastoneGastone Nencini (ITA) Italy
1958 Spain Bahamontes, FedericoFederico Bahamontes (ESP) Spain
1959 Spain Bahamontes, FedericoFederico Bahamontes (ESP) Spain
1960 Italy Massignan, ImerioImerio Massignan (ITA) Italy
1961 Italy Massignan, ImerioImerio Massignan (ITA) Italy
1962 Spain Bahamontes, FedericoFederico Bahamontes (ESP) Marglat–Paloma–d'Alessandro
1963 Spain Bahamontes, FedericoFederico Bahamontes (ESP) Marglat–Paloma–Motul–Dunlop
1964 Spain Bahamontes, FedericoFederico Bahamontes (ESP) Margnat–Paloma–Dunlop
1965 Spain Jimenez, JulioJulio Jimenez (ESP) Kas–Kaskol
1966 Spain Jimenez, JulioJulio Jimenez (ESP) Ford-France–Hutchinson
1967 Spain Jimenez, JulioJulio Jimenez (ESP) Spain
1968 Spain Gonzalez, AurelioAurelio Gonzalez (ESP) Spain
1969 Belgium Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Faema
1970 Belgium Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Faema–Faemino
1971 Belgium Van Impe, LucienLucien Van Impe (BEL) Sonolor–Lejeune
1972 Belgium Van Impe, LucienLucien Van Impe (BEL) Sonolor
1973 Spain Torres, PedroPedro Torres (ESP) La Casera–Bahamontes
1974 Spain Perurena, DomingoDomingo Perurena (ESP) KAS
1975 Belgium Van Impe, LucienLucien Van Impe (BEL) Gitane
1976 Italy Bellini, GiancarloGiancarlo Bellini (ITA) Brooklyn
1977 Belgium Van Impe, LucienLucien Van Impe (BEL) Lejeune–BP
1978 France Martinez, MarianoMariano Martínez (FRA) Jobo–Superia
1979 Italy Battaglin, GiovanniGiovanni Battaglin (ITA) Inoxpran
1980 France Martin, RaymondRaymond Martin (FRA) Miko-Mercier
1981 Belgium Van Impe, LucienLucien Van Impe (BEL) Marc
1982 France Vallet, BernardBernard Vallet (FRA) La Redoute-Motobécane
1983 Belgium Van Impe, LucienLucien Van Impe (BEL) Metauro Mobili
1984 United Kingdom Millar, RobertRobert Millar (GBR) Peugeot
1985 Colombia Herrera, LuisLuis Herrera (COL) Café de Colombia
1986 France Hinault, BernardBernard Hinault (FRA) La Vie Claire
1987 Colombia Herrera, LuisLuis Herrera (COL) Café de Colombia
1988 Netherlands Rooks, StevenSteven Rooks (NED) PDM-Ultima-Concorde
1989 Netherlands Theunisse, Gert-JanGert-Jan Theunisse (NED) PDM-Ultima-Concorde
1990 France Claveyrolat, ThierryThierry Claveyrolat (FRA) R.M.O.
1991 Italy Chiappucci, ClaudioClaudio Chiappucci (ITA) Carrera Jeans-Tassoni
1992 Italy Chiappucci, ClaudioClaudio Chiappucci (ITA) Carrera Jeans-Vagabond
1993 Switzerland Rominger, TonyTony Rominger (SUI) CLAS-Cajastur
1994 France Virenque, RichardRichard Virenque (FRA) Festina-Lotus
1995 France Virenque, RichardRichard Virenque (FRA) Festina-Lotus
1996 France Virenque, RichardRichard Virenque (FRA) Festina-Lotus
1997 France Virenque, RichardRichard Virenque (FRA) Festina-Lotus
1998 France Rinero, ChristopheChristophe Rinero (FRA) Cofidis
1999 France Virenque, RichardRichard Virenque (FRA) Team Polti
2000 Colombia Botero, SantiagoSantiago Botero (COL) Kelme-Costa Blanca
2001 France Jalabert, LaurentLaurent Jalabert (FRA) CSC-Tiscali
2002 France Jalabert, LaurentLaurent Jalabert (FRA) CSC-Tiscali
2003 France Virenque, RichardRichard Virenque (FRA) Quick Step-Davitamon
2004 France Virenque, RichardRichard Virenque (FRA) Quick Step-Davitamon
2005 Denmark Rasmussen, MichaelMichael Rasmussen (DEN) Rabobank
2006 Denmark Rasmussen, MichaelMichael Rasmussen (DEN) Rabobank
2007 Colombia Soler, MauricioMauricio Soler (COL) Barloworld
2008 Austria Kohl, BernhardBernhard Kohl[Notes 1] (AUT) Gerolsteiner
2009 Italy Pellizotti, FrancoFranco Pellizotti[Notes 2] (ITA) Liquigas
2010 France Charteau, AnthonyAnthony Charteau (FRA) Bbox Bouygues Telecom
2011 Spain Sánchez, SamuelSamuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel-Euskadi
2012 France Voeckler, ThomasThomas Voeckler (FRA) Team Europcar
2013 Colombia Quintana, NairoNairo Quintana (COL) Movistar Team

Winners by Nation[edit]

Rank Country Names Winning Most Most Recent Winner Wins
1  France Richard Virenque (7) Thomas Voeckler 2012 21
2  Spain Federico Bahamontes (6) Samuel Sánchez 2011 17
3  Italy Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi, Imerio Massignan and Claudio Chiappucci Claudio Chiappucci 1992 11
4  Belgium Lucien Van Impe (6) Lucien Van Impe 1983 11
5  Colombia Luis Herrera (2) Nairo Quintana 2013 5
6  Denmark Michael Rasmussen (2) Michael Rasmussen 2006 2
   Luxembourg Charly Gaul Charly Gaul 1956 2
   Netherlands Steven Rooks and Gert-Jan Theunisse Gert-Jan Theunisse 1989 2
9   Switzerland Tony Rominger Tony Rominger 1993 1
   United Kingdom Robert Millar Robert Millar 1984 1
Notes
  1. ^ Kohl's results have been removed, after he tested positive and admitted the use of doping, but the classification has not been remade yet. Carlos Sastre was ranked second.
  2. ^ Pellizotti's results have been removed, after his biological passport indicated irregular values, but the classification has not been remade yet. Egoi Martínez was ranked second.

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]