Yellow jersey

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The yellow jersey of the Tour de France

The yellow jersey (French: maillot jaune ) is a rating jersey that is used in many stage races - especially the Tour de France - to recognize the leading participant in the overall standings or to identify them to the audience.

Yellow jersey of the Tour de France


There are some versions of how the first yellow jersey was made and when it was worn. In 1919 Henri Desgrange had the idea; the overall leader of the Tour de France should wear a yellow jersey so that he can be better recognized by the spectators. He chose the color yellow because his sports newspaper L'Auto was printed in yellow. Today's L'Équipe as the successor to L'Auto also appears in yellow with some issues. According to another version, the jersey color had to be yellow because no other jersey fabric was available in a hurry. On July 18, 1919, a picture of the overall leader in the yellow jersey appeared on the front page of the French magazine La Vie au Grand Air . This rider was Eugène Christophe on the 10th stage of the Tour de France. To this day, the yellow jersey on the Tour de France bears the small initials "HD" for the name of the Tour founder, Henri Desgrange.

Wearers of the jersey from German-speaking countries

So far (as of July 29, 2019) fifteen riders from Germany, ten from Luxembourg, five from Switzerland and one from Austria wore the yellow jersey at the Tour de France.





Overall leader's jersey in other cycling races and sports

The concept of a color-contrasting jersey was adopted for almost all stage races in cycling. Even the peace drive, which had long competed ideologically for a long time, relied on the yellow jersey. The largest cycling tours today, besides the Tour de France, vary the jersey color of the overall leader and award the pink jersey at the Giro d'Italia and the previously gold and now red jersey of the Vuelta a España .

In the meantime, other sports have adopted the yellow jersey award. World Cup leaders in biathlon , Nordic skiing or alpine skiing also wear a different colored jersey.

Individual evidence

  1. Photos of the magazine from 1903-…
  2. Lost film treasures: Tour de France 1959 (France, 2010), broadcast on Arte on July 16, 2011.

Web links