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The Mountains classification in the Tour de France is a competition in the Tour de France where cyclists receive points for reaching the top of a mountain first. The leader of the competition is called the "King of the Mountains". He wears the polka dot jersey, a white jersey with red dots.

History[change | change source]

In 1905, the newspaper l'Auto began naming one cyclist of the Tour de France the best climber.[1] In 1933 the Tour de France director, Henri Desgrange, decided that cyclists should receive a bonus for reaching the tops first. From 1934 on, the gap between the first and the second cyclist to reach the top was given as a time bonus to the one reaching the top first. These time bonuses were later removed, but the King of the Mountain recognition remained.[2]

Although the best climber was first recognised in 1933, the distinctive jersey was not introduced until 1975. The colours were decided by the then sponsor, Chocolat Poulain, whose chocolate bars were covered in a polka dot wrapper.[3] Currently the jersey is sponsored by Carrefour supermarkets, which has sponsored the jersey since 1993, initially under the Champion brand, it switched to the main Carrefour brand for the 2009 edition of the Tour. The Tour's jersey colours have also been adopted by other cycling stage races; for example, the Tour of Britain also has a polka dot jersey.

The highest climb in the race was the Cime de la Bonette-Restefond in the 1962 Tour de France, reaching 2802 m.[4] The highest mountain finish in the Tour was at the Col du Galibier in the 2011 edition.[5]

Current situation[change | change source]

At the top of each climb in the Tour, there are points for the riders who are first over the top. The climbs are divided into categories from 1 (most difficult) to 4 (least difficult) based on their difficulty, measured as a function of their steepness and length. A few of the toughest climbs were originally given different individual points scales, and were thus listed as "uncategorised" (Hors catégorie, a term that has since passed into the French language to refer to any exceptional phenomenon); however, since the 1980s in fact the hors catégorie climbs have been given a single points scale and effectively became, despite the name, just a top category above category 1. In 2004, the scoring system was changed such that the first rider over a fourth category climb was awarded 3 points while the first to complete a hors catégorie climb would win 20 points. Further points over a fourth category climb are only for the top three places while on a hors catégorie climb the top ten riders are rewarded. Since 2004, points scored on the final climb of the day have been doubled where that climb was at least a second category climb.[6]

Distribution of points[change | change source]

The points that are gained by consecutive riders reaching a mountain top are distributed according to the following classification:

Point Distribution Grid as of 2012[7]
4C 3C 2C 1C HC
1st 1 2 5 10 25
2nd 1 3 8 20
3rd 2 6 16
4th 1 4 14
5th 2 12
6th 1 10
7th 8
8th 6
9th 4
10th 2

The points for a mountain top finish are doubled, if that mountain is an HC, 1C or 2C. The organisation of the race determines which mountains are included for the mountains classification and in which category they are.

If two riders have an equal number of points, the rider with the most first places on the hors catégorie cols, is declared winner. If the riders arrived first, an equal number of times, the first places on the 1st category cols are compared. Should the two riders again have an equal number of first arrivals in this category, the organization looks at mutual results in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th category, until a winner is found. If the number of first arrivals in all categories is equal for both riders, the rider with the highest position in the overall list of rankings receives the mountain jersey.

Up until 2011 the points that are gained by climbing the mountains were distributed according to the following classification:

  • Hors Catégorie climbs: 20, 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 7, 6 and 5 points respectively for the 1st until the 10th rider to climb the mountain
  • First category climbs: 15, 13, 11, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5 points respectively for the 1st until the 8th rider to climb the mountain
  • Second category climbs: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 and 5 points respectively for the 1st until the 6th rider to climb the mountain
  • Third category climbs and hills : 4, 3, 2 and 1 point, respectively for the 1st until the 4th rider to climb the hill
  • Fourth category climbs (hills): 3, 2, and 1 point, respectively for the 1st until the 3rd rider to climb the hill.

Criticism of the system[change | change source]

In recent years, the system has had some criticism. Six-time winner Lucien Van Impe said that the mountain jersey has been devalued, because it goes to cyclists who have no hope to win the general classification so are allowed to escape and gather points in breakaways. This tactic was started by cyclists such as Laurent Jalabert and Richard Virenque, but according to Van Impe, they were really able to climb.[8]

Winners of the Mountains classification[change | change source]

Repeat winners[change | change source]

Rank Name Country Wins Years
1 Richard Virenque  France 7 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2004
2 Federico Bahamontes  Spain 6 1954, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1964
Lucien Van Impe  Belgium 6 1971, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1981, 1983
4 Julio Jiménez  Spain 3 1965, 1966, 1967
5 Felicien Vervaecke  Belgium 2 1935, 1937
Gino Bartali  Italy 2 1938, 1948
Fausto Coppi  Italy 2 1949, 1952
Charly Gaul  Luxembourg 2 1955, 1956
Imerio Massignan  Italy 2 1960, 1961
Eddy Merckx  Belgium 2 1969, 1970
Luis Herrera  Colombia 2 1985, 1987
Claudio Chiappucci  Italy 2 1991, 1992
Laurent Jalabert  France 2 2001, 2002
Michael Rasmussen  Denmark 2 2005, 2006

List of cyclists named meilleurs grimpeurs[change | change source]

This list shows the cyclists who were chosen meilleur grimpeur by the newspaper l'Auto. Although l'Auto was organising the Tour de France, the meilleur grimpeur title was not given by the tour organisation, so it is unofficial. However, it is a direct predecessor of the later Mountain King title. [9][10]

Year Nationality Name Team
1905 France René Pottier
1906 France René Pottier
1907 France Emile Georget
1908 France Gustave Garrigou
1909 Luxembourg François Faber
1910 France Octave Lapize
1911 France Paul Duboc
1912 Belgium Odiel Defraeye
1913 Belgium Philippe Thys
1914 Belgium Firmin Lambot
1919 France Honoré Barthélemy
1920 Belgium Firmin Lambot
1921 Belgium Hector Heusghem
1922 France Jean Alavoine
1923 France Henri Pélissier
1924 Italy Ottavio Bottecchia
1925 Italy Ottavio Bottecchia
1926 Belgium Lucien Buysse
1927 Italy Giovanni-Michele Gordini
1928 France Victor Fontan
1929 France Victor Fontan
1930 France Benoît Fauré
1931 Belgium Joseph Demuysere
1932 Spain Vicente Trueba

Winners of the Mountains classification by year[change | change source]

Year Nationality Name Team
1933 Spain Vicente Trueba Touriste-routier
1934 France René Vietto France
1935 Belgium Félicien Vervaecke Belgium
1936 Spain Julian Berrendero Spain–Luxembourg
1937 Belgium Félicien Vervaecke Belgium
1938 Italy Gino Bartali Italy
1939 Belgium Sylvere Maes Belgium
1947 France Pierre Brambilla Italy
1948 Italy Gino Bartali Italy
1949 Italy Fausto Coppi Italy
1950 France Louison Bobet France
1951 France Raphaêl Géminiani France
1952 Italy Fausto Coppi Italy
1953 Spain Jesús Loroño Spain
1954 Spain Federico Bahamontes Spain
1955 Luxembourg Charly Gaul Luxembourg–Mixed
1956 Luxembourg Charly Gaul Luxembourg–Mixed
1957 Italy Gastone Nencini Italy
1958 Spain Federico Bahamontes Spain
1959 Spain Federico Bahamontes Spain
1960 Italy Imerio Massignan Italy
1961 Italy Imerio Massignan Italy
1962 Spain Federico Bahamontes Marglat–Paloma–d'Alessandro
1963 Spain Federico Bahamontes Marglat–Paloma–Motul–Dunlop
1964 Spain Federico Bahamontes Margnat–Paloma–Dunlop
1965 Spain Julio Jimenez Kas–Kaskol
1966 Spain Julio Jimenez Ford-France–Hutchinson
1967 Spain Julio Jimenez Spain
1968 Spain Aurelio Gonzalez Spain
1969 Belgium Eddy Merckx Faema
1970 Belgium Eddy Merckx Faema–Faemino
1971 Belgium Lucien Van Impe Sonolor–Lejeune
1972 Belgium Lucien Van Impe Sonolor
1973 Spain Pedro Torres La Casera–Bahamontes
1974 Spain Domingo Perurena KAS
1975 Belgium Lucien Van Impe Gitane
1976 Italy Giancarlo Bellini Brooklyn
1977 Belgium Lucien Van Impe Lejeune–BP
1978 France Mariano Martínez Jobo–Superia
1979 Italy Giovanni Battaglin Inoxpran
1980 France Raymond Martin Miko-Mercier
1981 Belgium Lucien Van Impe Marc
1982 France Bernard Vallet La Redoute-Motobécane
1983 Belgium Lucien Van Impe Metauro Mobili
1984 United Kingdom Robert Millar Peugeot
1985 Colombia Luis Herrera Café de Colombia
1986 France Bernard Hinault La Vie Claire
1987 Colombia Luis Herrera Café de Colombia
1988 Netherlands Steven Rooks PDM-Ultima-Concorde
1989 Netherlands Gert-Jan Theunisse PDM-Ultima-Concorde
1990 France Thierry Claveyrolat R.M.O.
1991 Italy Claudio Chiappucci Carrera Jeans–Tassoni
1992 Italy Claudio Chiappucci Carrera Jeans–Vagabond
1993 Switzerland Tony Rominger CLAS-Cajastur
1994 France Richard Virenque Festina–Lotus
1995 France Richard Virenque Festina–Lotus
1996 France Richard Virenque Festina–Lotus
1997 France Richard Virenque Festina–Lotus
1998 France Christophe Rinero Cofidis
1999 France Richard Virenque Team Polti
2000 Colombia Santiago Botero Kelme–Costa Blanca
2001 France Laurent Jalabert CSC–Tiscali
2002 France Laurent Jalabert CSC–Tiscali
2003 France Richard Virenque Quick-Step–Davitamon
2004 France Richard Virenque Quick-Step–Davitamon
2005 Denmark Michael Rasmussen Rabobank
2006 Denmark Michael Rasmussen Rabobank
2007 Colombia Mauricio Soler Barloworld
2008 Austria Bernhard Kohl[Notes 1] Gerolsteiner
2009 Italy Franco Pellizotti[Notes 2] Liquigas
2010 France Anthony Charteau Bbox Bouygues Telecom
2011 Spain Samuel Sánchez Euskaltel–Euskadi
2012 France Thomas Voeckler Team Europcar
2013 Colombia Nairo Quintana Movistar Team
2014 Poland Rafał Majka Tinkoff–Saxo

Winners by nation[change | change source]

Rank Country Wins Names Winning Most Most Recent Winner
1  France 21 Richard Virenque (7) Thomas Voeckler 2012
2  Spain 17 Federico Bahamontes (6) Samuel Sánchez 2011
3  Italy 11 Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi, Imerio Massignan, Claudio Chiappucci (2 each) Claudio Chiappucci 1992
4  Belgium 11 Lucien Van Impe (6) Lucien Van Impe 1983
5  Colombia 5 Luis Herrera (2) Nairo Quintana 2013
6  Denmark 2 Michael Rasmussen (2) Michael Rasmussen 2006
   Luxembourg 2 Charly Gaul (2) Charly Gaul 1956
   Netherlands 2 Steven Rooks, Gert-Jan Theunisse (1 each) Gert-Jan Theunisse 1989
9  Poland 1 Rafał Majka Rafał Majka 2014
    Switzerland 1 Tony Rominger Tony Rominger 1993
   United Kingdom 1 Robert Millar Robert Millar 1984
  1. Kohl's results have been removed, after he tested positive and admitted the use of doping, but the classification has not been remade yet. Carlos Sastre was ranked second.
  2. Pellizotti's results have been removed, after his biological passport indicated irregular values, but the classification has not been remade yet. Egoi Martínez was ranked second.

References[change | change source]

  1. Tour - WielerArchieven
  2. Tour Xtra: Polka Dot Jersey
  3. "Tour Xtra: Polka Dot Jersey".
  4. Woodland 2007, p. 273.
  5. Tour de France 2011—The Galibier 1911–2011. (10 July 1911). Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  6. "Regulations of the race" (PDF). ASA/ Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  7. ", pg 37 General best climber ranking" Check |url= value (help) (PDF).
  8. Atkins, Ben (22 July 2010). "Tour de France: Lucien Van Impe criticises polka dot mountains jersey classification". Velonation. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
  9. Tour - Pagina 3 - WielerArchieven
  10. Tour-Giro-Vuelta

Bibliography[change | change source]

Template:Tour de France