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Is it just me or does anyone else see virtually no value, or better yet, "meaning" to the polka dot jersey? It seems like the yellow, white, and recently, even the Green all go to the best rider in that category. Increasingly, the polka dot seems to be a race to see what "also ran" rider can take a few midrange climbs and stack up points even though he is not even close to the best climber. Seriously, how many polka dots did lance, jan, pantani win (insert other references here)? They were clearly the best as the other competitors distilled away from their wheels on the critical climbs.. I mean if you are GC guy and a great climber, you are not going to sprint to the sign for those extra points. So whats the jersey signify? It seems like an awkward competition. Christophe Rinero, Santiago Botero, L. Jalabert ?
 

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bigmig19 said:
Is it just me or does anyone else see virtually no value, or better yet, "meaning" to the polka dot jersey? It seems like the yellow, white, and recently, even the Green all go to the best rider in that category. Increasingly, the polka dot seems to be a race to see what "also ran" rider can take a few midrange climbs and stack up points even though he is not even close to the best climber. Seriously, how many polka dots did lance, jan, pantani win (insert other references here)? They were clearly the best as the other competitors distilled away from their wheels on the critical climbs.. I mean if you are GC guy and a great climber, you are not going to sprint to the sign for those extra points. So whats the jersey signify? It seems like an awkward competition. Christophe Rinero, Santiago Botero, L. Jalabert ?
Like any competition, it has rules and riders that go for it. They know what they have to do (breaks, etc.) and do what is necessary. You want to just give it to the GC winner? - TF
 

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It's like that every Tour. Some also ran runs out front during the first week in the small bumps. They get some TV time, a palce on the podium and a few $. The real KoM earn the jersey in the high mts. They may not be the first up the last climb of the day, But they got over most of the big hills first.
 

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No I dont want to just give it to the GC guy. I would rather it go to the best Climber, which I believe is what it was inteneded for. As indicated above, it does not go to best climber usually but rather someone who intentionally goes for that jersey by winning small early climbs or goes on one big breakaway. They just should'nt call it KOM's. They should call it "most agressive rider who can afford to sprint to every sign competition" . Armstrong-0 dots, Mercx-2, Hinault-1. Give me a break.
 

· ab aeterno
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I think it has value and is a worthy jersey. It does not necessarily go to an also ran, but more the best guy that cannot time trial and is not riding for a GC guy. It's for the guys that can't do anything but climb, they're out there on their own. I mean look at soler, he wasn't an also ran, but a very very good climber that was able to best contador. Ricco will probably win it this year, and I wouldn't consider him an also ran. He'll be a tour contender in a couple years. I'd say soler was the best climber last year, and Ricco may be the best climber this year. Evans will probably win and we know he can't climb.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Some good points. Was Soler really better than Contador though, when it counted? I think its close, but I like Contador there. Again, Im not saying ALL GC guys should have won it, I just listed some obvious examples that won the tour and were the best climbers several years but did not get a jersey. Being a good TT rider or winning the GC shouldnt disqualify you from the KOM jersey. Good god, Marco Pantani at least 2 years that I can remember rode everyone into the ground, so much so that once he actually won the GC while a crappy TT rider. No Dots for him! I would argue that at least 50% of the time it goes to a great climber, but NOT the best.
 

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A lot of good points here. I'll try to bring them together and consolidate them into one post:

I think all of the jerseys are prestigious, yet I feel, like many of you, that the polka dots is not always indicative of the best climber like the other jerseys are so indicative of their respective categories. Making a comparison to the Green jersey, which is the only other jersey based on points, the Green jersey CLEARLY indicates who the best sprinter is. There is no confusion mostly due to the fact that the GC riders do not, by any stretch, have to be great sprinters. Sprint stages do nothing to forecast the final GC. The Green jersey really is a category all its own.

The polka dots is not indicative of the best climber because great climbing is part and parcel to winning Grant Tours. I don't think anyone would disagree with the fact that the Tour is basically won or lost in the mountains (and to a lesser degree, the TT's). With that being said, when the GT's head to the mountains, the very best climbers are going to be the ones contending for GC; those riders will not be contesting the polka dot jersey (as many of you have stated). What you have left are those who are not contending for GC, but will contest for the polka dots. The result is a competition where the best potential riders for the category will not be contesting the category. Therefore, many times, the polka dot jersey will not go to the best climber, but the best rider who decides to contest the category, therefore, giving the appearance of a watered-down, also-ran competition, which, in a way, it is - sometimes.

I think even the best climbers in history like Charly Gaul and Frederico Bahomontes were contesting for GC, excelled in the mountains, and wound up many times on the podium with the climber's prize as a consolation. Unlike Virenque, these were guys who contested (and won) GC, who also happened to also be the best climbers in the race. I don't think the polka dots was first and foremost on their minds in the mountain stages, but rather utilizing their considerable climbing strength to get them the yellow jersey.

Virenque purposely gunned for the polka dots because it was clear that he could beat the other guys contesting the jersey in a given year (I also think, IMO, that after some time, he knew he couldn't win the race, but knew that he could pick up another polka dot jersey). That's not to say he wasn't a very good climber and a heck of bike rider (he did podium AND win the jersey in '96 and '97), but just because he won the polka dots 7 times, I don't think people think of him as one of the best climbers of all time.
 

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I think polka dot jersey is awesome. "also ran" is pretty harsh. So one of the best climbers in the world that also probably gets top 10-20 in TdF is merely an "also ran". This shows a lack of appreciation and knowledge of the sport, skill and talent.
 

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ziggurat22 said:
I don't think anyone would disagree with the fact that the Tour is basically won or lost in the mountains (and to a lesser degree, the TT's).
Agree on all your points except this one. It is only partially true and very good example is this year. Schleck, Satsre, Ricco, Piepoli would need at least 3 minutes on Menchov and/or Evans to even have a fighting chance of coming out alive in the TT. Heck even Christian Vande Velde can probably put 2 minutes or more into any one of these guys in a 50km TT. Don't forget that this year's TT km's have been significantly reduced.

Another great example is Miguel Indurain basically winning on his TT abilities.

Lance was freak who could climb and TT with the best of them. But even he could afford to give someone like "chicken" a few minutes on the mountains before lapping him on the TT.
 

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jhamlin38 said:
I think polka dot jersey is awesome. "also ran" is pretty harsh. So one of the best climbers in the world that also probably gets top 10-20 in TdF is merely an "also ran". This shows a lack of appreciation and knowledge of the sport, skill and talent.
Let me clarify further:

I personally like the competition, I'm just saying that there is a perception that the competition is not that significant because you really don't have the best of the best going for the jersey. That's not to say those that win it are not great climbers, for they most certainly are. I'm just saying that the polka dot jersey often does not go to the best climber in the race, but the best climber contesting the jersey, who will also be a very good climber in his own right. I used the term 'also-ran' because unfortunately, many view of the riders contesting the jersey in this unfortunate light.

As a matter of fact, I think someone recently posted a quote by Chris Horner basically summarizing that he didn't think the polka dot jersey was an important competition that teams really gunned for, and that he himself would only work for the team leader on the mountains and not contest the jersey.
 

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We've had this conversation before. The jersey usually goes to someone on a long suicide break (or 2) in the high mountains.

You can pretty much ignore the jersey in the first week. Just one Mountain Top finish will give you enough points to overcome all those first week guys.

The last couple jersies have been won by some pretty good climbers...Rasmussen twice, Soler last year. Likely Ricco this year, and it's pretty clear that through 10 days, he's the best climber in the race, period. He has even stated he's gunning for Alp 'd Huez, and if he wins that, he will surely be undisputed KOM.
 

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MG537 said:
Agree on all your points except this one. It is only partially true and very good example is this year. Schleck, Satsre, Ricco, Piepoli would need at least 3 minutes on Menchov and/or Evans to even have a fighting chance of coming out alive in the TT. Heck even Christian Vande Velde can probably put 2 minutes or more into any one of these guys in a 50km TT. Don't forget that this year's TT km's have been significantly reduced.

Another great example is Miguel Indurain basically winning on his TT abilities.

Lance was freak who could climb and TT with the best of them. But even he could afford to give someone like "chicken" a few minutes on the mountains before lapping him on the TT.
That is a good point. I didn't mean to denigrate TT'ing. You certainly have to be an awesome TT'er also to win, as evidenced by the Chicken. It's kind of yin and yang I guess (and pretty obvious): You really need to have a pretty complete package of skills to win. Indurain, while not the best climber, was certainly pretty damn good. Anquetil was of a similar mold if I'm not mistaken (pretty good climber/excellent TT).
 

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ziggurat22 said:
Making a comparison to the Green jersey, which is the only other jersey based on points, the Green jersey CLEARLY indicates who the best sprinter is.
Freire is leading the Green. He's not won a stage. Cavendish has won two stages and he's sixth. Certainly a world class sprinter will win the Green but I think there might still be some argument as to who the "best" might be.

I like the fact that the competition for the Dots encourages some riders to strike out on their own over some of the big climbs. They make calculated risks to see if they can amass enough hills before they are wasted to stay ahead of the GC guys who will collect a steady stream of hill points over all the stages. It makes for more exciting racing.
 

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A large part of "why it is how it is" is simple practicallity...

It is easy to measure the order in which riders summit a climb. If someone wants to suggest an alternative, then (a) first you need to define what you mean by "Best Climber" and (b) how you will go about measuring it. When you think about it a little, it is not as easy as you might have first thought.

Best,

njo2002
 

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njo2002 said:
It is easy to measure the order in which riders summit a climb. If someone wants to suggest an alternative, then (a) first you need to define what you mean by "Best Climber" and (b) how you will go about measuring it. When you think about it a little, it is not as easy as you might have first thought.

Best,

njo2002
I suppose they could just time everyone on every categorized climb, and whomever has the lowest aggregate climbing time for the Tour is awarded the Dots?

Since the riders still have to make the time cuts, a rider couldn't just kill it on the climb then take his time resting before the next climb. :idea:
 

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Nice idea. And given that each bike has an RFID tag (or something similar) you could simply put a reader at the bottom of the climb and at the top and read the times. Off course, then you'll have up to 180 results to tabulate per climb as opposed to the top 15 or so we have today. But no big deal. Now, what happens if, like yesterday with Valverde, a rider is forced to change his bike mid-climb? The new bike may not register through the gates. It is not like the finish line where you have the benefit of a camera, too. I guess ensure the tag is on the rider and not the bike? Could work?....

njo2002
 

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njo2002 said:
Nice idea. And given that each bike has an RFID tag (or something similar) you could simply put a reader at the bottom of the climb and at the top and read the times. Off course, then you'll have up to 180 results to tabulate per climb as opposed to the top 15 or so we have today. But no big deal. Now, what happens if, like yesterday with Valverde, a rider is forced to change his bike mid-climb? The new bike may not register through the gates. It is not like the finish line where you have the benefit of a camera, too. I guess ensure the tag is on the rider and not the bike? Could work?....

njo2002
180 results to sift through isn't very many considering that they use chip timing for running events where you can have as many as tens of thousands of people (ex. Chicago Marathon).

The major downside to my suggestion is that you could conceivably be the "fastest climber" yet still be in the middle of the pack getting to the top of each climb. With the current system, you only get rewarded by being one of the first few riders up each climb, and that's not a bad thing.

If we went with my suggestion, Tom Danielson could win a zillion Polka Dot jerseys since he's the master of timed hillclimbs.
 
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