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The Leader Jerseys of the Tour De France

Updated on February 15, 2020

Who is your favorite past champion of the Tour De France?

Who is your favorite past champion of the Tour De France?

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What is the Tour de France

The Tour de France is probably the most well known cycling race in the world. This bicycle race takes place in France over three weeks in July. Teams of eight riders (since 2019), prior it was teams of nine riders) compete for stage wins and the overall Yellow Jersey designating the leader of the race.

Even though the team jerseys may change from year to year, the main five jerseys do not.

The main five jerseys are:

  • The Yellow Jersey or Le Coq Sportif
  • The White Jersey
  • The Red Polka dot Jersey
  • The Green Jersey
  • The Rainbow Jersey

In addition to the Jerseys above, there are also National Jerseys - The current National champions can wear their national jerseys in ordinary stages and the national time trial champions can wear their national jerseys in time trial stages.

I vaguely remember being at the Tour De France in the late 70's. I didn't even know what was going on as the race was concluding in Paris that year, just a lot of traffic on Sunday. Now I love watching the daily stages on TV, the strategy of the race is very interesting.

What do the Tour de France jersey colors mean?

  • The Yellow Jersey - The Tour de France yellow jersey is worn each day by the leader by time of the Tour de France. The winner of the first stage automatically wears it during the second stage. The team whose rider has the jersey, is typically the team the leads each stage as they want to protect the leader and possibly help increase the lead.

  • The Green Jersey - The Tour de France Green Jersey is worn by the sprint points leader. In most stages, there are certain points where riders can earn points towards the Green Jersey. The finish line provides additional sprint points on stages that don't finish at the end of a climb. Teams position their sprinters for the end of the race to earn these points and of course win the stage. If you've never seen the end of a sprint stage in the Tour de France, it is as exciting as any ending to a sporting event.
  • The Polka Dot Jersey - The Tour de France polka dot jersey designates the best mountain climber. In most stages, points are give to the riders that cross various designated peaks. Peaks are rated with the highest climbs receiving the most points and given to the most number of riders. Less difficult climbs are given less points with only two or three riders receiving them. During stages with climbs, riders will go out early to earn points and then fade at the end of the stage.
  • The White Jersey - The white jersey, like the yellow jersey, is based on the best time out of all the rookie's in the race. Teams work to protect teammates with the white jersey as being on the podium in Paris is a great achievement

What do the Bib Numbers Indicate?

There is additional information about the riders that can be found on the bib number each rider wears.

  • Bibs 1 thru 8 are worn by the team whose rider won the tour de France last year.
  • Bibs that end in 1, such as 11, 31, 51, 121. Are worn by the leader of the team. The rest of the team will wear the same starting number on their bib to indicate which team they belong.
  • Bibs with a Yellow Background - Indicate the team that is winning the overall team classification.


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