While spectators and prognosticators pay attention to this Tour's epic climbs that will likely determine the GC winner, another battle is not so quietly taking place for the fastest man on pavement. The winner of this battle will, however, have a difficult field and new scoring system to contend with.
In years past, a stage winner received only five points more than the second-place finisher. This year, the Tour is awarding the stage winner 20 points more than the second-place finisher, deeming some to call the new rules "anti-Sagan," a reference to the three-time green jersey champion who's only won four stages in his career.
This year's sprinters will also have one fewer contender to concern themselves with: Marcel Kittel's illness and lack of recent competitive cycling will keep him out of this year's Tour.
Here are the top four contenders to watch as they race for green jersey glory.
Mark Cavendish1 of 5
No one benefits more from the rule change and Kittel's absence than Cavendish, whose 25 individual stage wins puts him in third all-time. While he is only nine wins away from Eddy Merckx's record, Cavendish likely won't catch him this year. But if he amasses multiple stage wins, the green jersey could be his to lose.
Alexander Kristoff2 of 5
Kristoff enters the Tour with multiple wins on the year and could be Cavendish's closest competitor. The Norwegian won two stages at last year's Tour and is looking to better that performance after picking up wins in Qatar, Switzerland, Oman and Norway.
Peter Sagan3 of 5
The rule change affects Sagan's chances at donning green in Paris. But make no mistake: The three-time defending champion picked up the general classification in California and the points classification in the Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour de Suisse, and he's primed to make it four wins in a row.
John Degenkolb4 of 5
With Marcel Kittel out of this year's tour, Giant-Alpecin will put its green jersey hopes in the hands of Degenkolb. Picking up wins earlier this year in Milan and Paris and backed by a team made to support sprinters, Degenkolb is a threat to pick up multiple-stage wins this year.