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Decoding the Significance of Jerseys in Tour de France


Cycling enthusiasts worldwide anticipate the exhilarating moments of the annual Tour de France. However, beyond the thrilling chases and the test of endurance, there lies the fascinating tradition of “jerseys in Tour de France”. These jerseys, far from being mere colourful sportswear, are laden with significance and honor.

Table of Contents

1. [The History of Jerseys in Tour de France](#history)
2. [Understanding the Four Jerseys](#fourjerseys)
3. [The Maillot Jaune: The Yellow Jersey](#yellowjersey)
4. [The Maillot Vert: The Green Jersey](#greenjersey)
5. [The Maillot à Pois Rouges: The Polka Dot Jersey](#polkadotjersey)
6. [The Maillot Blanc: The White Jersey](#whitejersey)
7. [Conclusion](#conclusion)

The History of Jerseys in Tour de France

The tradition of awarding jerseys in Tour de France started in 1919, with the introduction of the Yellow Jersey. This was followed by the Green Jersey in 1953, the Polka Dot Jersey in 1975, and finally, the White Jersey in 1975. These jerseys not only add a splash of vibrancy to the race, but they also represent the accomplishments of the riders, each signifying a different classification.

Understanding the Four Jerseys

The jerseys in Tour de France are more than just colorful uniforms. Each of the four jerseys – yellow, green, polka dot, and white – symbolizes a specific achievement or position in the race. They are worn by the leading cyclist in each category and are fiercely contested throughout the event.

The Maillot Jaune: The Yellow Jersey

Arguably the most coveted among all jerseys in Tour de France, the Maillot Jaune or the Yellow Jersey, represents the overall race leader – the cyclist with the lowest cumulative time. The yellow color is a nod to L’Auto, the newspaper that organized the first race, which was printed on yellow paper. Wearing this jersey is an honor and represents the pinnacle of professional cycling.

The Maillot Vert: The Green Jersey

The Maillot Vert, or the Green Jersey, is awarded to the points classification leader – a title earned by consistently finishing near the top of each stage. It’s often associated with the race’s best sprinters, as points are awarded at intermediate sprints and stage finishes. The color green was chosen to represent the sponsor, a lawn mower company.

The Maillot à Pois Rouges: The Polka Dot Jersey

The Maillot à Pois Rouges, or the Polka Dot Jersey, is arguably the most visually distinctive of the jerseys in Tour de France. It is awarded to the King of the Mountains – the best climber of the race. The red polka dots on a white background were chosen because the original sponsor, a chocolate company, packaged their sweets in similarly patterned wrappers.

The Maillot Blanc: The White Jersey

The Maillot Blanc, or the White Jersey, is awarded to the best young rider under 26 with the lowest cumulative time. It encourages young cyclists to participate and compete at the highest level. The color white was chosen to represent purity and youthfulness.


The tradition of awarding jerseys in Tour de France is a fascinating aspect of this iconic race. Each jersey, with its vivid color and symbolism, tells a unique story of the rider’s skill, endurance, and competitive spirit. So, the next time you watch the Tour de France, you’ll understand the deeper significance behind the battle for these iconic jerseys, adding another layer of excitement to this thrilling event.

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