It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The Tour de France is about to begin. It starts this Saturday in Monaco and I’m looking forward to watching one of the most interesting battles in years. Lance Armstrong is back and so is his team mate Alberto Contador who won in 2007. Can Australia’s Cadel Evans beat his second placing from the last couple of years to win? What a race it’ll be.
I thought that to prepare for the great race I’d revisit some of the basics of the race over the next couple of days.
If you have only started following the Tour de France recently and you’ve heard the commentators talking about different coloured jerseys, you might be wondering what all the different colours represent and why it’s so important to be wearing a jersey other than your team jersey.
Each team wears their own uniform but there are a number of special shirts or jerseys awarded each day. While it’s considered very prestigious to wear any of these jerseys throughout the race, it’s obviously even more so to be wearing one of these jerseys after the final sprint down the Champs-Élysées in Paris on the last day of the tour.
Many people know that the Yellow Jersey or Maillot Jaune is the most coveted of all the jerseys but here’s a quick rundown of what it’s all about.
The Yellow Jersey is worn by the leader in the general classification. That means that whoever has the lowest overall time at the end of each stage of the event will be awarded with the Yellow Jersey. It was first awarded in 1919 and its colour was chosen to match the yellow paper of l’Auto magazine, founder of the Tour de France in 1903.
The Green Jersey is given to the leader in the points classification, rewarding the best sprinter. It’s sometimes called the points jersey or sprinters’ jersey. During each stage, points are allocated for several intermediary sprints and for the finish. The jersey was introduced in 1953.
Polka Dot Jersey
The Polka Dot or King of the Mountains Jersey is awarded to the rider who earns most of the points at each summit. The winner is known as the King of the Mountains. Although the award was introduced in 1933, the red and white spotted jersey was not introduced until 1975.
The White Jersey is given to the best rider in the general classification under 25. The jersey was abandoned in 1989 but reintroduced in 1999.
So now you know a little more than you did a short while ago. I hope this brief explanation helps in your enjoyment of this year’s tour.
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