The battle of the peas continues – .

The battle of the peas continues – .

The battle for the Tour de France’s most contested jersey raged as the peloton entered Andorra on Sunday, and the final week of the race is expected to provide plenty of entertainment to come as well. And no, we’re not talking about the battle for yellow (or white, or green).

It is Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious), not Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) or Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-QuickStep), who currently sits at the top of the ranking of the essential battle of the Tour de France 2021: the thrill ride that has summer polka dot jersey competition.

Of course, Pogacar could lose their lead of more than five minutes in the mountains. But barring a major crash or collapse, he’s got a pretty firm grip on yellow, and his rivals seem to be thinking a lot about second and third place right now instead of the top step of the podium. final. Cavendish, meanwhile, will have to save time on some tough stages and retain the more versatile guys who can go for a few more intermediate sprints – but his lead is also pretty solid, and is that really all it takes to make it happen. wait for it. the gruppetto to arrive in the Pyrenees?

Meanwhile, Poels, Mike Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation), Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) are engaged in a fierce battle for mountain points that will remain fierce over the next few years. days, and it’s possible that few other names will fit into the mix over the next week or so.

The mountain ranking is the one to watch at the moment on the 2021 Tour.

If you haven’t been very careful so far, here’s where things stand as we approach the second day of rest: Poels leads the table with 74 points after taking over Woods’ peas in the stage 15, where Poels was able to grab the maximum of 10 points on the Cat 1 Montée de Mont-Louis, then pick up more points with high finishes at the top of the next three climbs. Woods dropped to second place to 66 points after wearing the jersey on Sunday. Quintana, who scored the maximum points at the highest altitude of the Tour on the ascent of Port D’Envalira in stage 15, is currently third with 64 points, and Van Aert has the same total of points after having collected points on some of the previous climbs of the day. . Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) is fifth with 41 points.

Often, most of the action in the Battle of KOM at the Tour de France takes place on the road, as the opportunists reach the mountain tops long before the peloton. Pogacar’s brilliant and aggressive performance in the 2020 Tour saw him take on both the polka dots and the yellow jersey, but the pendulum has returned in favor of the escapees this year with the UAE team and other teams focused on the general classification to allow the breaks to remain clear.

As such, all of the major polka dot contenders have worked hard to try and take breaks over the past few days, and in general they have been successful. It gave those of us watching the race a chance to see big names banging their horns multiple times a day – even though the overall contenders behind them were unable or unwilling to shake things up on the steep slopes.

This trend is expected to continue in the coming days, with three of the last six stages offering major opportunities for mountain points.

After Monday’s rest day, Tuesday’s stage 16 will be an opportunity for the polka-dot hopefuls to get back on the road, with a Cat 1, two Cat 2 and a Cat 4 climb on a profile that looks good for that the breakaway remains clear. Stage 17 will launch two Cat 1s in the peloton before a non-category final at the top of the Col du Portet, which will offer double the points as a top finish. Stage 18 will be the last big day of the battle for the polka-dot jersey and, moreover, decisive, with two Cat 4s before two non-category climbs, the Col du Tourmalet then the arrival at the top in Luz Ardiden, which will again offer the double points. .

There is always a chance that the GC teams will get to work over the last week to bring back the fumbles, putting the mountain title on the line for the top climbers in the race – but that’s not really so. that things have happened so far, and it has been a godsend for anyone hoping for an entertaining battle. After all, the best climbers in the race already fight for the yellow jersey most of the time, and it’s not always the most exciting showdown.

When riders who are not only good climbers, but also aggressive some are in the mix for mountain classification, each summit counts. There’s a lot to come in the later stages of this race, so let’s hope the battle for peas continues to rage just as fiercely this coming week.

“The opportunity is there. Hopefully the breakaways will have enough space, ”said Poels after Sunday’s stage. “I still feel good. Normally my third week in a Grand Tour is good. Six more days in Paris. It seems close, but it’s still a long way off.



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