Saturday, 1 September 2012

Reinstate the jerseys

(click picture to enlarge)

Take a good look at the picture from the Vuelta homepage. By the looks of things, it might be the battle for KOM but it is not. It could be the fight for GC, but Degenkolb doesn't quite add to the equation, does he?

Yes, of course it is the point classification, or "sprinters' jersey."

Make the competition a competition
Traditionally, everyone got a feeling for the jerseys, they are brilliant in themselves, not only a thing to aspire to for the riders, but an easy way for beginners of the sport to get an understanding of what is going on. Say "yellow jersey" and most people on the planet will relate that to the leader of the Tour de France. What a  fantastic brand.
Jerseys in cycling are sort of iconic and need to mean something to everyone, its bounderies and framework clear cut to avoid confusion. If riders, sponsors and fans miss out the sense-making, where would that lead us?

At the same time it is easy to forget that the green jersey is not a sprinter's jersey, it is the points classification. Two different things. Does the GC winner need an extra one or is it possible to turn it into a sprinter's jersey? Perhaps will the result be that several more sprinters would show up for the entire vuelta, instead of leaving early as we have witnessed before.

Edward Pickering from Cyclingsport magazine wrote an excellent comment on the competition for the polka dot jersey a compelling one, I'd expect the ASO to learn from this. The fight for jerseys should be special to all the different categories of riders, hence the increasing specialization in cycling today. Mark Cavendish fought very well for the red point jersey in the giro, only to loose for Rodriguez by one small point at the very last possible stage (yes, there are points in the last TT too, but not likely Cav or Rodriguez would grab one). Battles like these are amazing to witness, for everyone. For the organisers, fans and motivational for the riders to be a part of themselves.

So ASO, please do us all a favour and reinstate the jerseys. Bring them back into the spotlight and make the competition for each a good one.

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