The King of the Mountains jersey is always the most difficult to predict in every grand tour.Before it starts you are never too sure who will target the jersey.Add into that riders that find themselves in a number of early breaks and decide to see how far they can get.In a particularly mountainous course you also have to consider the top GC riders who will find themselves in the top 10 of the mountain stages.All these factors make it very hard to predict….but I’ll give it a go anyway!
The points are awarded in the following way
If it’s a mountaintop finish the points get doubled.There are 4 of these,3 of them are HC climbs and 1 cat 1 climb.Now at least 1 of these stages will be won by a break but that is still a lot of potential points for the GC boys.On the flip side,in the other stages there are a lot of climbs and a lot of points to be collected by a rider with the KOTM as his main goal.Last year Tommy Voeckler won the jersey after a great fight with Frederik Kessiakoff.The French fighter is favourite again with the bookies but it is unclear if he will target this again as it is extremely energy sapping.The Astana rider Kessiakoff will be going for the jersey again and will be given free reign by his team.He does not seem to be in the same form as last year and I don’t think he’ll be able to match his performance in 2012.In trying to identify other riders that might target the jersey means looking at each team very closely.A team will a real GC target will not allow a lesser rider free reign,so that discounts Sky,Movistar and Saxo.A pro continental team would love to win the jersey as it means exposure and world tour points so I have identified Brice Feillu as a rider with potential.In 2012 he finished 9th in the category.He did well in the mountains classification in other races too: 4th in Haut Var,4th in Picardie,7th in the Dauphine.This year he finished 9th in the Tour Mediterraneen and 3rd in Castilla y Leon,again in the mountains classification.I managed to back him at 100/1 and he is now 40/1,but probably still worth a small punt.
Euskatel are another team that usually try to win the jersey.They have so many climbers it is too hard to work out who will be their main rider for this!
Out of the GC contenders,if you manage to finish in the top 3 on the mountaintop finishes then you will be in with a shout.Froome,Contador and Valverde have to be considered and you can still get good odds if you like that scenario.A lot of punters will wait and bet during the race,accepting the shorter odds.At least they’ll know who is really going for it.