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CYCLING

Why does the leader of the Tour de France wear a yellow jersey?

The Tour de France is the most famous cycling event in the world. The yellow jersey that tour leaders wear is also the most prestigious prize in the sport.

Update:
The Tour de France is the most famous cycling event in the world. The yellow jersey that tour leaders wear is also the most prestigious prize in the sport.
ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULATAFP

The Tour de France has been held for more than a hundred years, and is the most cycling event in the world. Tour leaders famously wear a yellow jersey, which is the sport’s most-coveted sign of prestige.

The shirt is awarded to the cyclist who leads the overall race at the end of each stage.The maillot jaune is given to the rider with the fastest time across the entire race, who then wears it in the following stage.

The beginnings of Tour de France’s yellow jersey

The leader of the race didn’t always wear this color to indicate his place in the race. Originally, the leading cyclist simply wore a green armband to show his dominance. However, this was not a a very visible sign of who the top rider was.

Henri Desgrange, cyclist, journalist and founder of the Tour, is credited with the idea of using a shirt that would make it easier to recognize who was ahead in the race. Desgrange was editor of L’Auto, the newspaper that funded the competition, and the publication was printed on yellow paper. Thus, the jersey was made to reflect this bright color.

Tour de France jerseys gain popularity

Because of the success and popularity of the yellow jersey, other colors with other meanings were soon introduced. There are now three other shirts that competitors can aspire to wear- the polka dot, the green, and the white.

The polka dot jersey is given to the rider recognized to be the “King of the Mountain”, or the rider who tops the climber classification by dominating the mountain stages of the contest.

The green shirt is awarded to the points classification winners who garner the biggest numbers by finishing in the top 25.

The participants of the race need to be 25 years old or less to bag the white shirt, which is given to younger cyclists who clock the lowest overall time in the race.