Giro analysis: Can a sprinter win the points jersey this year?

The Giro d’Italia is a little bit different to the norm in the way it handles its points competition. In most major stage races this jersey is the domain of the sprinters. Not so the Giro.

Last year, due to the excessively mountainous nature of the parcours, the points competition effectively became a shadow version of the GC. The one-two-three in both classifications were identical (Contador-Scarponi-Nibali), with the top-placed sprinter being Roberto Ferrari [yes, him – Ed] in a distant eighth.

In 2010 the maglia rosso was won by the redoubtable Cadel Evans, who is many things but would never claim to be the new Robbie McEwen. 2009? Overall champion Denis Menchov doubled up as that year’s points winner. You have to go back to Daniele Bennati in 2008 to find the last sprinter to win the red jersey. Continue reading

Happy birthday Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish with daughter Delilah, born in April

Faster than a speeding bullet, the ‘Manx Missile’ – reigning road race world champion, Tour de France green jersey and BBC Sports Personality of the Year Mark Cavendish – turns 27 today.

That’s right. Mark Simon Cavendish was born in 1985, the year in which Bernard Hinault won the last of his five Tours de France. He was barely two months old then, in the month which also saw the Live Aid concerts and the launch of the original Back to the Future film. [Thanks for making me feel old – Ed.] Continue reading