Tour de France points system: What do the colored jerseys mean?

Fans of the cycle race will understand the importance of the yellow jersey and will look forward to seeing who wears it at each stage.

But new fans and casual viewers may wonder why some riders are given a green jersey – or a polka dot jersey – to wear at certain stages.

Find out everything you need to know about the point system and jerseys below.

What do the Tour de France jerseys mean?

There are four jerseys allocated to Tour de France riders:

  • Yellow jersey
  • Green shirt
  • Polka dot jersey
  • white jersey

Yellow jersey

The yellow jersey, or as it is also called, the yellow jersey, is awarded to the leader of the general classification. It is the runner who has finished the race in the minimum time.

Officials calculate the fastest rider after each stage, and the leader of the general classification can take him to the next stage.

The official Tour de France website states: “A symbol of excellence, prestige and victory, the yellow jersey is beyond the reach of all but the most complete riders – those who can hold their own on the plains, in the mountains and in the test time.”

Tadej Pogačar won the yellow jersey in 2021 and 2020.

Green shirt

The green jersey is awarded to the rider who leads the points classification each day based on the points he finishes in each stage, plus additional points for the intermediate sprints.

The Tour de France says: “It goes without saying that this symbol of explosiveness, passion and speed is typically held by sprinters.”

In 2021, the green jersey was won by Mark Cavendish.

Polka dot jersey

The leader of the best climber classification is awarded the red polka dot jersey.

Riders are awarded mountain points for climbs ranked summit first, with the number of points varying depending on the category of each climb.

The Tour de France describes it as a “symbol of the mountain, of the runner beyond his limits and of courage”.

Tadej Pogačar won the polka dot jersey in 2021 and 2020.

white jersey

The white jersey symbolizes “the future and the youth of the Tour de France peloton” and is awarded to the best-placed rider in the general classification, aged under 26.

Tadej Pogačar won the white jersey in 2021 and 2020.

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