Similar to that of the points classification, the mountains classification is also a secondary competition in the Tour de France. Introduced in the year 1933, this award is given to the rider who reaches the mountain summits first.
Winning the Mountains Classification awards is highly respected, even amongst other cyclists. Winners are given the title ‘King of the Mountains’ and are awarded the Polka Dot jersey. In any Tour de France race, the Polka Dot jersey is one that is impossible to not notice.
How Points Are Awarded In The Mountains Classification
It goes without saying that in a single tour, there will be many climbs of different difficulties. Points are awarded to riders who reach the top first in all instances.
Back to the difficulties of each climb, they are divided into categories of 1 to 4. In this case, 1 is the most difficult and 4 is the least difficult. To put into perspective, some climbs go as high as 2,802m!
Depending on the magnitude of the climb’s incline, length, and location, the difficulty will be determined by a team of experts. Climbs with extraordinary difficulty are considered to be beyond categorization and is called hors categorie (HC).
Fun fact: hors categorie directly translates to ‘beyond categorization’ in English and is used to describe a really steep climb.
In the event that two riders have earned the same points, the rider to finish first on each hors categorie gets the edge and is announced as the winner.
Assuming that both riders once again have equal amount of points even after taking into consideration the hors category, subsequent categories will be taken into consideration to determine the winner.
All that said, the following is the table of points awarded to each rider should he reach the top of the mountain:
Points for stage finishes are also awarded, and they are as follows:
Recent Winners of the Mountains Classification
- 2017 – Warren Barguil (FRA), Team Sunweb
- 2016 – Rafal Majka (POL), Team Tinkoff
- 2015 – Chris Froome (GBR), Team Sky
- 2014 – Rafal Majka (POL), Team Tinkoff-Saxo
- 2013 – Nairo Quintana (COL), Team Movistar
- 2012 – Thomas Voeckler (FRA), Team Europcar
- 2011 – Samuel Sanchez (ESP), Team Euskaltel-Euskadi
Top Repeat Winners of the Mountains Classification
- Rank 1: 7 Wins – Richard Virenque (FRA) in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2003 and 2004
- Rank 2: 6 Wins – Federico Bahamontes in 1954, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963 and 1964
- Rank 2: 6 Wins – Lucien Van Impe in 1971, 1972, 1975, 1977, 1981 and 1983
Country wise, France still reigns as the country with the most wins of 21. Spain comes in second with 17 wins and Italy comes right after with 12 wins.