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65th Vuelta a España – Points Classification Preview
 
By Chris Graetz
Date: 8/27/2010
65th Vuelta a España – Points Classification Preview
 

65th Vuelta a España – Points Classification Preview
Commonly referred to as the sprinters competition, the points classification rewards the most consistent rider over three weeks. Who will take out the green jersey in 2010?

The points classification jersey usually goes to a sprinter. However, with the World Championships around the corner, this is the hardest competition to predict. Which sprinters will pull out half way through to take a break before the World’s and which ones will go on to Madrid? Will another rider other than a sprinter win the jersey? So many unknowns but that’s what makes the 65th Vuelta brilliant. It’s wide open in all areas.

In writing this preview, I took the odds from a bookmaker, Sportingbet Australia. http://www.sportingbet.com.au

Tyler Farrar
Country: USA
Team: Garmin-Transitions
Age: 26
Current Odds: $7 Sportingbet Australia

Farrar is one of the favourites for the green jersey. When on form, Farrar is a strong sprinter. He was consistent in the Giro back in May winning two stages.

Farrar will be focusing his attention on the World’s. He’ll also be hunting for stage wins over the next three weeks to add to his tally of six for the year. However, if his preparation at all is going to be hindered, he could most likely pull out half way through.

If he's in the hunt during the second week, he may decide to complete the Vuelta to win the jersey.


Tyler Farrar claiming victory on Stage 11 of the 2009 Vuelta Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Daniele Bennati
Country: Italy
Team: Liquigas
Age: 29
Current Odds: $7 Sportingbet Australia

Italian sprinter Daniele Bennati will be looking to claim a second sprint jersey at the Vuelta. He won the jersey in 2007, winning three stages along the way. He’s also been successful winning the sprinter's jersey in the 2008 Giro.

Bennati is a consistent rider and will be wanting to add to his season tally of two victories in 2010 over the coming weeks. If some of the other sprinters pull out to focus on the World’s, Bennati could end up wearing the jersey in Madrid.

Mark Cavendish
Country: Great Britain
Team: HTC-Columbia
Age: 25
Current Odds: $9 Sportingbet Australia

Mark Cavendish is the fastest man in the world and if he makes it all the way to Madrid, he could very well win his first points classification at a Grand Tour.

This year’s Vuelta has at least six, possibly seven or eight stages where a bunch sprint is possible. If Cavendish is feeling good and in form, he could win all those stages. He’s managed eight victories this year, including five in the Tour de France.


Mark Cavendish claims victory on the Champs-Élysées in the 2010 Tour de France.
Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter Sirotti 

However, Cavendish isn’t going to go on the hunt for points on stages which could make it hard for him to win the green jersey. Again, the jersey probably won’t be a priority for Mark. Getting miles into the legs and winning stages will more than likely be the focus.

Oscar Freire
Country: Spain
Team: Rabobank
Age: 34
Current Odds: $10 Sportingbet Australia

Freire has had a brilliant season claiming six races. The biggest win was a tremendous victory in Milan San-Remo. This Vuelta offers challenging climbs and Freire could win stages that other sprinters falter on.

He’s a former winner of the green jersey in the Tour de France and could very well step up and take the green at the Vuelta.

Thor Hushovd
Country: Norway
Team: Cervelo Test Team
Age: 32
Current Odds: $12 Sportingbet Australia

Hushovd is a previous winner of the jersey in the Vuelta, winning it in 2005. He’s also won the green jersey at the Tour de France on two occasions. In the three times he’s won the points classification, Thor has been consistent throughout the three weeks proving it’s not all about stage victories.

For example, the green jersey he secured in the 2005 Tour de France, he didn't win a stage. In his 2006 Vuelta win, he only managed one victory. It was a similar story in the 2009 Tour, winning one stage along the way to the green jersey.

Hushovd missed out on the green jersey at the Tour this year and so his motivation to win it here might be high.

Alessandro Petacchi
Country: Italy
Team: Lampre
Age: 36
Current Odds: $13 Sportingbet Australia

Petacchi has won points jerseys at all three Grand Tours with the recent being the green jersey at this year's Tour de France.


Alessandro Petacchi taking his second victory in the 2010 Tour de France winning stage Four. He would later go on to win the Green Jersey.Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The Italian has had an extraordinary year notching up seven wins including two in the Tour. The form he is in, he could add a few more victories to his name in the Vuelta and go onto claim the green jersey.

Other chances for the green jersey include a whole range of riders such as Allan Davis, Filippo Pozzato, Frank Schleck, Vincenzo Nibali and Igor Anton.


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