Rolling up the category 4 climb, with only 1 point up for grabs, Ide Schelling distanced his fellow breakaway members. He sprinted towards the peak of the hill collecting that point and putting him into the sole lead with 5 points overall. Now the peloton is through 3 days and Schelling has sole possession of the Polka Dot jersey going into stage 4. What makes him so special though? What makes him unique? It is all in the way he is leading the competition.
The King of the Mountains jersey, for context, is awarded to the cyclists who gets the most point over the 3 week bike races. These points are awarded for the categorised climbs of the race, and they scale is as follows.
As you can see from the table, the different climbs have different values and this is due to difficultly. They range from 4th Category climbs all the way to Hors Categorie or the Uncategorised climbs. This then determines at the end of the race who wins the jersey and wears Polka Dots to Paris. The HC does not always end a stage, but with any Grand Tour, the King of the Mountains and the General Classification have begun to go hand in hand.
The Mountains do not start immediately, especially in the Tour de France, therefore the Polka Dot jersey is up for grabs, for the most part in the breakaway. This year, the role of chaser has been embraced by Ide Schelling and unlike any other year I can remember, he seems to be actively chasing it. Following stage 3 he confirmed he should now be in the jersey at least to the foot of the Alps and he is doing it in style.
When coming up to the line, he is treating every hill sprint like he is winning the stage and he is animating the middle of the race, which can become somewhat stale. He will continue this path into the Mountains and I would expect Schelling in the break everyday that he can. He may still lose the Jersey to the General Classification contenders, but for now he has grabbed it with two hands, and the race is better for it.
Good luck Ide Schelling, you have at least one fan routing for you and the Polka Dots in Paris!
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