All of the various leader competitions are keenly contested by the riders in the Tour de France and are considered to be very prestigious.
Tour de France jerseys: Yellow / maillot jaune – overall classification leader
The Tour de France yellow jersey (maillot jaune) is the most coveted item of clothing in professional cycling. The wearer of the maillot jaune each day is the rider who has lowest aggregate time and as such tops the overall or general classification (GC) of the race. In some stages bonus seconds are awarded to the top finishers which reduce the rider's overall time.
Tour de France jerseys: Green / maillot vert– points classification leader
Points are awarded to riders according to the position that they finish each stage, and there are additional points for intermediate sprints during some stages.
Points are assigned to stage winners and subsequent finishing positions. The number of points on offer will vary depending upon the type of stage – with more on offer during pure sprinter’s days. The green jersey (maillot vert) is awarded to the rider with the most points accumulated in the race to that point. While the jersey is often considered to be a ‘sprinter’s jersey’, the winner often needs to be an all-rounder: someone who can finish well in fast finishes as well as mountain days. The most points are awarded on the flattest days.
Tour de France jerseys: Polka-dot / maillot à pois rouges – King of the Mountains classification leader
Mountains points are awarded to riders who crest the Tour de France’s climbs first. The amount of points awarded depends on the severity or ‘category’ of the mountain – the bigger it is, usually more points are on offer.
Climbs are divided into five categories: 1 (most difficult) to 4 (least difficult) – then there’s the ‘Hors Categorie’, denoted by HC which represents the most challenging of ascents. The tougher the category, the further down the standings the points reach – a HC climb will see points awarded down to the first eight over the summit, whilst a fourth category climb results in points for just the first rider over the top. The organizers decide which mountains or climbs will be included in the competition.
The distinctive white-with-red-dots jersey (maillot à pois rouges) is given to the rider with the most mountains points accumulated in the race to that point. The first climber’s award was given out in 1933 and the jersey arrived on the scene in 1975
Tour de France jerseys: White /maillot blanc– Best young rider classification leader
The least distinctive of all of the classification jerseys – it’s plain white – is awarded to the under-26 rider who has completed the Tour de France in the least amount of time. This jersey was first introduced in 1975.
Non-jersey classifications: combativity and team competition
There are two further classifications that do not earn a coloured jersey – the Combativity Award and Team Classification.
The Combativity award isn’t a classification as such, as the award is given to a rider who has been deemed by a race jury to have shown ‘fighting spirit’ during each individual stage. They wear a red race number during the following day’s stage. A ‘Super Combativity’ award is handed out on the final stage for the most aggressive rider during the whole race.
The Team Classification is based on the collective time of the three highest-placed riders from each squad. Leaders of the team classification get to wear race numbers that are yellow with black digits, and the right to wear yellow helmets.
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The La Bicicletta Team