Unlike some rules of the Tour de France, such as the Team Time Trial, where one needs a calculator, stop watch and an honours degree in mathematics to follow the result, the Young Riders White Jersey Competition is very simple to follow. Riders competing for the white jersey must be born after January 1, 1980 to qualify. The winner is the highest placed young-rider in the overall rankings. Last year Valdimir Karpets beat Sandy Casar and Thomas Voeckler to take the jersey.
The White Jersey Young Riders competition has been a feature of the race since 1975 when the Italian star Francesco Moser became the first ever winner. However there was a White Jersey awarded prior to that for the Combination Classification, whose rules were slightly more complicated than the present day Team Time trial and was thankfully dropped. Between 1983 and 1986, the Young Riders Competition was only open to those making their debut in the race, but since 1987 the competition has remained open to anyone young enough to qualify.
Since 1997 the competition has gained a special significance, since it is called Souvenir Fabio Casartelli, in memory of the Italian rider who was fatally injured in 1995.
This year around 25 riders will be eligible for the competition they are fully listed below, but these are the Daily Peloton’s expected top 5:
Vladimir Karpets, José Angel Gomez Marchante, Yaroslav Popovych, Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde
With Patrick Sinkewitz, Andrey Kashechkin, Philippe Gilbert and Fabian Wegmann in contention.
Souvenir Fabio Casartelli – White Jersey Young Riders 2005
Vladimir Karpets 20.09.1980 – Illes Balears
Alejandro Valverde 25.04.1980 – Illes Balears
David Arroyo 07.01.1980 – Illes Balears
Vladimir Karpets will defend his jersey and will hope to match Marco Pantani’s record of 2 jerseys. Looking good this season, he used the Giro as preparation and still finished in 7th spot. However the presence of both Valverde and Mancebo in the team may limit his options.
Alejandro Valverde is a truly charismatic rider as he demonstrated in last year's Vuelta. How he will react to his first Tour de France is a matter of great debate and discussion, but obviously a rider to watch closely. Illes Balears have three riders in the competition with David Arroyo, a double stage winner of the Tour of Portugal last year, being the third.
Yaroslav Popovych 04.01.1980 – Discovery Channel
Gets into the competiton by the narrowest of margins (three days) and hard to believe that the rider who has finished 12th, 3rd and 5th in the Giro is still young enough for the Competition. Winner of the Tour de Catalogne and outstanding in Dauphiné Libéré, he is one of the favourites for the competition.
Alberto Contador 06.12.1982 – Liberty Seguros
Luis Leon Sanchez 24.11.1983 – Liberty Seguros
Allan Davis 27.07.1980 – Liberty Seguros
Alberto Contador is without doubt the revelation of the season so far. Ranked 15th in the UCI Pro tour rankings he has demonstrated great Time Trialing and climbing talents. He got his 5th victory of the season on stage 4 Stage of the Tour de Romandie (St. Denis - Les Paccots, 146,9 km) and is a big favourite to take the White Jersey competition. Luis Leon Sanchez will probably be the second youngest rider in the race. As the team website says, “There is no need to put the pressure on a 21-year old lad who has won three professional stages and also won the Down Under Tour this same year. He must ride calmly, but be aware of his huge potential.” Allan Davis rides his second Tour de France and continues to develop as a strong fast man.
José Angel Gomez Marchante 13.05.1981 – Saunier Duval
Joxean “Matxin” Fernandez, Directeur Sportif, made the following comments on his young rider who finished seventh in the Dauphiné Libéré:
"He is the rider of the future. I can imagine him wearing the white jersey in the Tour! Angel is very strong and raced an excellent Dauphiné; he even gave shivers to the favorites!” Certainly an outstanding climber, but is his time trialing good enough?
Philippe Gilbert 05.07.1982 – FdJ
Bernhard Eisel 17.02.1981- FdJ
Thomas Lövqvist 04/04/1984 – FdJ
No surprise to see a team of Mark Madiot with a strong youthful feel. Philippe Gilbert continues to fulfil his potential 4 victories already this season in the Tour Méditérranéen, Tour du Haut Var, the Trophée des Grimpeurs and the second stage of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque. Thirty-second in the Giro Italia last year, but he is more likely to be looking for a stage victory rather than the White jersey. Bernhard Eisel has three victories this year, including a great victory in the Tour de Suisse. Thomas Lövqvist is the youngest rider in the race, and is already being hailed as the next Valverde. Too young to ride the Tour? Well, if you’re good enough you are old enough.
Patrick Sinkewitz : 20.10.1980 - Quick Step – Innergetic
Tom Boonen 15.10.1980 - Quick Step – Innergetic
Patrick Sinkewitz looks like being the only support on offer in the high mountains for GC Contender Michael Rogers, so he may find he has his hands full on other matters. Likewise Tom Boonen will have other Green jerseys on his mind.
Fabian Wegemann 20.06.1980 – Gerolsteiner
Young Fabian can certainly climb as his green King of the mountains jersey in the Giro d’Italia 2004 showed. However, team duties looking after Levi Leipheimer and Georg Totschnig may be enough for young Fabian.
Andrey Kaschechkin 21.03.1980 – Credit Agricole
The Youngster had an exceptional Dauphiné Libéré finishing in 9th place, a very strong climber. However he will be helping team leader, Christophe Moreau so team duties may dictate tactics.
Andriy Grivko 07.08. 1980 - Domina Vacanze
Alessandro Vanotti 16.09.1983 – Domina Vacanze
Maxim Inglinskiy 18.04.1981 – Domina Vacanze
Young Kazakh hope Maxim Inglinskiy had an excellent Tour de l’Avenir in 2004 and has won races in China, Greece, Bulgaria and Ireland while Andriy Grivko has been aggressive all season. Alessandro Vanotti had an excellent Giro d’Italia and was star of the day on stage 16 when he was third at the finish line. "I attacked several times, but they always caught up with me. I was really doing well and I wanted to win, so I could dedicate the victory to my mother, who died in 2002."
Fabian Cancellara 18.03.1981 – Fassa Bortolo
Winner of the prologue last year, Fabian will not be thinking of the White Jersey but rather repeating last years success on the opening day. The 19 kilometre Time trial suits him ideally and he is a favourite for that part of the race, but not for the white jersey.
Joost Posthuma 08.03.1981 – Rabobank
Pieter Weening 05.04.1981 – Rabobank
Since finishing 6th in the Tour de l’Avenir in 2002 with RB3, Pieter Weening has continued to impress with an excellent 9th spot in the Vuelta a Murcia this year. Likewise Joost Posthuma has joined the Rabobank Pro team via their youth system and has an excellent win on Stage 6 of Paris Nice.
Samuel Dumoulin 20.08.1980 – AG2R
Simon Gerrans 16.05.1980- AG2R
Wild card team AG2R bring the gutsy Samuel Dumoulin, winner of the Tro Bro Leon in 2003 and 2004, he also won stage 2 of this years Dauphine Libere. Winner of the
Tour Finisterre, the Australian Simon Gerrans unusually makes his debut in the tour in his first full year as a pro.
Johan Van Summeren 04.02.1981 – Davitamon Lotto
will be working hard for Cadel Evans as the race progresses.
White Jersey Winners
The bracket figure is the riders ranking in the overall General Classification. Two riders have won both the Yellow and White Jersey, Laurent Fignon in 1983, and Jan Ullrich in 1997. Ullrich has also won the competition most times (three) with Marco Pantani the only other rider to score more than one victory.
The lowest ranked rider on General Classification to win the event was Fabrice Philipot who finished 24th in 1989. Interestingly while some riders have gone on from winning the White Jersey to being legends of the sport (Moser, Fignon, Anderson, Le Mond and Hampsten) for other riders it was the highlight of their career (for example, Benoît Salmon). The Netherlands have most winners with 6 riders, but Russia have won the competition with Menchov and Karpets for the last two years.
1975 - Francesco Moser (Ita) (7)
1976 - Enrique Martínez Heredia (Esp) (23)
1977 - Dietrich Thurau (FRG) (5)
1978 - Henk Lubberding (Ned) (8)
1979 - Jean-René Bernaudeau (Fra) (5)
1980 - Johan van der Velde (Ned) (12)
1981 - Peter Winnen (Ned) (5)
1982 - Phil Anderson (Aus) (5)
1983 - Laurent Fignon (Fra) (1) *
1984 - Greg LeMond (USA) (3) *
1985 - Fabio Parra (Col) (8) *
1986 - Andrew Hampsten (USA) (4) *
1987 - Raúl Alcala (Mex) (9)
1988 - Erik Breukink (Ned) (12)
1989 - Fabrice Philipot (Fra) (24)
1990 - Gilles Delion (Fra) (15)
1991 - Alvaro Mejía (Col) (19)
1992 - Eddy Bouwmans (Ned) (14)
1993 - Antonio Martín Velasco (Esp) (12)
1994 - Marco Pantani (Ita) (3)
1995 - Marco Pantani (Ita) (13)
1996 - Jan Ullrich (Ger) (2)
1997 - Jan Ullrich (Ger) (1)
1998 - Jan Ullrich (Ger) (2)
1999 - Benoît Salmon (Fra) (16)
2000 - Francisco Mancebo (Esp) (9)
2001 - Oscar Sevilla (Esp) (7)
2002 - Ivan Basso (Ita) (11)
2003 - Denis Menchov (Rus) (11)
2004 - Vladimir Karpets (Rus) (13)