The green jersey or maillot vert at the Tour de France is one of the grandest prizes in cycling and adds an intense sub-plot to the race each year.
The green jersey is awarded to the rider with the largest number of points at the end of each stage of the Tour de France. At the end of the race, the rider still holding the jersey is also crowned the overall winner of the points classification.
However there's been a key change this year as the green jersey will be decided on the daily stage placings, as before, but also through the placings at one intermediate sprint which will carry a bigger haul of points than before when there used to be three intermediate sprints, carrying a handful of points, usually six, four and two.
For the stage finishes the points tally is weighted higher towards sprint stages, with 45 points on offer to the winner on flat stages.
The following points are handed out to the first 15 riders to finish on the following types of stage:
Flat: 45, 35, 30, 26, 22, 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2.
Medium mountain: 30, 25, 22, 19, 17, 15, 13, 11, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.
High mountain: 20, 17, 15, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Individual time trial stages differ slightly with just the top 10 riders collecting points: 20, 17, 15, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
The new the single intermediate sprint points on each test hand the first 15 riders: 20, 17, 15, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 points respectively.
Consistency is still vital and the man with the most stage wins not guaranteed to take to the podium in Paris - Mark Cavendish for example has yet to win the green jersey despite being the best sprinter of his generation. Whether the rejig of intermediate sprints changes that dynamic will become evident in the next three weeks.
The 1953 edition of the Tour saw the rebirth of the points classification as a separate classification. Initial points jerseys were won by the rider with the least points, with riders receiving points as penalization rather than a prize.
Earlier editions of the race had seen the general classification decided by a points system.
1959 saw the change to the current format where the rider who amasses the most points will end up victorious.
Stats and trivia
Erik Zabel is the undisputed king of the green jersey taking six consecutive wins between 1996 and 2001. Irishman Sean Kelly can lay claim to be the second most successful points scorer with four wins during the 1980’s.
Frenchman Jean Graczyk took advantage of an inflated points system to win the green jersey in 1958 with the highest ever total, a whopping 553 points. In contrast 2010 winner Alessandro Petacchi registered a winning total of 222 points.