Tour de France 2017: who will win the green jersey after Peter Sagan’s disqualification?

With the world champion and Mark Cavendish out, there will be a new rider on the final Paris podium...

After Peter Sagan’s expulsion and Mark Cavendish’s abandonment through injury, there is guaranteed to be a new rider in the green jersey on the Tour de France 2017 podium come July 23.

While the debate surrounding Sagan’s punishment – which initially saw him relegated on the stage and docked time and points, before race commissaires opted to disqualify the world champion – will role on, one consequence of the decision is he will not be breaking Erik Zabel’s record of six consecutive points classification wins.

And with 2011 winner Cavendish the only other current rider to have pulled on the green jersey on the Paris podium, there will be a chance for one of the WorldTour’s other leading fast men to pull on the jersey for the first time.

So, with the competition now wide open, how does the points classification stand and who has the best chance of writing their name into the Tour de France history books?

Peter Sagan will not be able to add a sixth consecutive green jersey to his collection, and with Mark Cavendish abandoning there will now be a new rider in green in Paris (pic: Sirotti)

1) Arnaud Demare (FDJ) – 124 points

Arnaud Demare, amidst the chaos and controversy of stage four of the Tour de France, claimed his first ever Tour de France stage win to trade his French national champion’s jersey for the maillot vert.

Demare, having also won the kick from the peloton at the intermediate sprint, now boasts a 43-point lead over second-placed Marcel Kittel and has clearly carried on the form he showed pre-Tour.

Arnaud Demare pulled on the green jersey after his stage four win (pic – Sirotti)

He now has eight wins to his name in 2017, and has admitted the green jersey has become a major target.

His biggest challenge now looks likely to be beating Marcel Kittel, who was unable to contest the stage four sprint after being caught behind an earlier crash in the frantic finale.

2) Marcel Kittel (QuickStep Floors) – 81 points

Marcel Kittel has never outwardly targeted a points classification prior to this Tour de France, but now finds himself among the favourites.

He trails Arnaud Demare by 43 points, after missing out on the stage four sprint, but he showed in winning stage two that he is in fine form.

Marcel Kittel has also worn green at the 2017 Tour de France (pic – Sirotti)

That win on stage two – his tenth win at the Tour, and also tenth win of the 2017 season – earned him a day in green, and if he can better Demare in the coming sprint stages he can easily claw back his deficit to claim the jersey again.

3) Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) – 66 points

Had this year’s Tour de France had a tougher parcours for the sprinters, Michael Matthews would rightly have been considered a green jersey and, as it is, he has racked up three top-ten finishes to put himself in a decent position.

Matthews lacks the speed of pure sprinters like Kittel, but the 26-year-old Australian loves a tough finish – he was second behind Peter Sagan on Longwy – and is capable of clocking points on tougher stages.

Michael Matthews would have been a major contender on a tougher course, but will need to better the big-name sprinters on the flat stages (pic – Sirotti)

The Team Sunweb rider’s biggest challenge, however, will be scoring enough points on the pure sprint stages, which are worth more towards the green jersey – particularly with very few intermediate sprints posted after difficult phases of racing too.

A tougher course would have made Matthews among the favourites, but this year’s route is likely to count against him.

4) Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) – 63 points

Andre Greipel was second in the points classification in 2015, having worn the green jersey on several occasions earlier in the race.

He has finished third on the both pure sprint stages this year too, to already clock 63 points, but he will need a couple of big stage wins to really mount a points classification challenge.

Andre Greipel finished second in the points classification in 2015 (pic – Sirotti)

Of course, he is well capable of that – he has won at least one stage at each of the last 12 Grand Tours he has ridden – and generally always contests the intermediate sprints too.

Greipel was points classification winner at the 2009 Vuelta a Espana, and is certainly capable of mounting a challenge now – but he needs a stage win sooner rather than later.

5) Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) – 43 points

Alexander Kristoff’s Katusha-Alpecin team-mates have made their presence felt on the front of the bunch so far in this year’s race, but the 29-year-old was beaten into second by Demare on stage two.

The Norwegian, 29, has not won a stage of the Tour de France since 2014 – the same year he was second in the points classification – but his team certainly have the firepower to support his 2017 ambitions.

Alexander Kristoff was second in 2014, but needs some big wins to put himself in contention in 2017 (pic – Sirotti)

It is now clear the points classification winner will likely need to rack up at least a couple of stage wins, which is where Kristoff at the moment is struggling.

But the signs were good for large parts of stage four, despite the chaos unfolding around them, that the 29-year-old certainly has plenty of fight left in him.

6) Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) – 38 points

Sonny Colbrelli openly stated he would be targeting the green jersey, and made those ambitions even clearer when he lined his team-mates out in order to contest the race’s first intermediate sprint on stage two.

Bahrain-Merida have already lost team leader Ion Izagirre, who crashed out of the stage one time trial, and Colbrelli now has an increased weight of expectation upon him.

With Ion Izagirre out, Bahrain-Merida could now back Sonny Colbrelli’s green jersey ambitions (pic – Sirotti)

Riding his debut Tour de France, he has much improvement to make before he challenges for the points jersey, however.

Nevertheless, the 27-year-old has ambition and, as with his fellow sprinters, that will only have increased with Sagan now out of the race.

Best of the rest

With plenty more opportunity for the sprinters – there are six stages still to come that have been deemed ‘flat’ and therefore carry 50 points for the winner – any sprinter who can rack up a few wins still stands a chance.

That means Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), currently tenth with 28 points, for example could add the Tour green jersey to his points classification win at the 2014 Giro d’Italia.

Nacer Bouhanni is looking for a first Tour de France stage win, but if he racks up those victories he will also be a contender (pic: Sirotti)

Cavendish’s abandonment will also see a change in Dimension Data’s sprinting priorities, which could open things up for Edvald Boasson Hagen, who has 12 points so far.

Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates), meanwhile, sits ninth on 31 points and – should he be suffering no lasting effects from himself crashing in the incident which marred the end of stage four – could also now be an outsider in the same mould as Colbrelli.

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