TOUR DE FRANCE: EXPLAINED
Summer's finally here in the UK, and in the bike world that means only one thing: it’s time for the TdF race 🙌
If you’re new to the world of yellow and green jerseys and time trials, we understand that it can seem confusing - so we’ve put together this guide for you!
Read on to learn all about the history of the Tour de France, what’s going on in this year’s race and what the different coloured jerseys mean:
History: 100+ years ago
1903 by the French newspaper Le Monde as part of an advertising campaign that got a bit out of hand. Apart from a short break during World Wars, the race has continued every year and is now in its 108th edition.
Believe it or not: Back in the early days the riders weren’t allowed any form of support, so had to carry all of their own food and water! There weren’t even any stages in the original version, it was simply a straight race to Paris with severe penalties for anyone receiving help.
Fun Fact: In one of the first editions, the winner was disqualified after he broke his forks and had to go to a local blacksmith to reweld his frame 😲 He did the welding himself but was banned, after it was discovered that the blacksmith’s son had operated the bellows for him!
The Set-Up of This Year's Race
The race will cover 3,383km over 21 stages with 184 riders across 23 different teams - a mammoth undertaking! It is held over the course of three weeks and sees the riders racing over different terrains and distances each day as they travel throughout France.
Believe it or not: Stages can be anything from short stages that riders race one at a time, known as time trials; long stages of more than 200km; to epic races over the mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees.
Fun Fact: Riders can be on their bike for more than five hours every day and will burn between 5000-8000kcal a day! That means that they need to eat the equivalent of 55 bananas every day to replenish the calories they burn 🍌
What Do the Coloured Jerseys Mean?
First things first, did you know that the race is ridden by teams of 8 riders, all working to win one of four categories? The leading rider of each of these categories is indicated by a leader’s jersey👌
The overall competition is known as the General Classification, and is based on which rider has taken the least amount of time to finish each stage overall. The leader of this category wears the most famous jersey, the Maillot Jaune or Yellow Jersey. The winner of this competition is generally the rider that is the best all-rounder, able to excel at climbing steep mountains as well as winning time-trials.
Fun Fact: This colour is a throwback to the original Le Monde newspaper that was printed on yellow paper!
There is also a prize for the best placed rider that is under the age of 23, the leader in this competition wins the White Jersey.
Fun Fact: Look out for this colour jersey, if you want to spot the Best Young Rider!
For riders that focus on being able to cycle the fastest on the flat, rather than being fast uphill, there is the points competition which is signified by the Green Jersey. Points are awarded to riders for being the first over the finish line on flat stages and at certain points along the route each day.
Fun Fact: British rider, Mark Cavendish, might be win this jersey, this year!
There is also a special competition for the King of the Mountains or the best climber, the leader of this category wears a red and white spotty jersey - known as the Polka-Dot Jersey. Points are awarded to the rider that is first over the most mountains during the race.
Fun Fact: Even though this one seems a little less serious 🤡 - it is a real honour to wear!
You can also read our post on the 2021 Tour de France.
We hope this helped you! If you're feeling inspired, why not go ahead and browse our available lightweight bikes?
Remember, we're offering the FIRST MONTH FREE on bikes and scooters from Strider, Forme and Micro - for the duration of the event!