x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Cavendish faces Gilbert test in green jersey quest

The Belgian Gilbert promises to keep attacking following the 13th stage of Tour de France on Saturday.

PLATEAU DE BEILLE, France // Britain's Mark Cavendish has been warned by his Belgian rival Philippe Gilbert that he will not stop fighting for the green jersey points competition.

"My objective is the green jersey," Gilbert said at the end of Friday's 13th stage. "I'm going to continue attacking."

Once the province of pure sprinters and those who can climb, the green jersey's points competition has taken on a new dimension this year.

Instead of offering points only for the first three riders to cross over the intermediate sprint, organisers are now rewarding the first 15 riders.

It has given Gilbert, a versatile rider who can climb, sprint fairly well and is known for his attacking skills, the chance to aim for a prize which, under the previous format, would be harder for him to achieve.

While many of Cavendish's points have come from his three stage wins in the race so far, he has taken up the challenge by going full out at the intermediate points. Cavendish has 264 points, with the Spaniard Jose Joaquin Rojas of Movistar on 251 and Omega-Pharma's Gilbert on 240.

After his third Tour stage win, on Wednesday, and 18th overall, Cavendish said: "The change in the points system is indifferent. It doesn't make it right or wrong, but it's going to make more of an attacking rider, like Gilbert or Rojas, possibly win the jersey in Paris."