WHICH ONE TO WATCH? If you're new to following the Tour de France, there's more to it than watching who's wearing the Yellow Jersey of the overall race leader. Granted, the Yellow Jersey is the one that gets most of the recognition, but watching four other contests makes the Tour all the more interesting. Here are the five main contests within the Tour.
YELLOW JERSEY. The Yellow Jersey (maillot jaune) is the most-watched contest within the Tour de France. The overall race leader is the one with the lowest accumulated time from stage to stage. This is called the General Classification or GC. Whichever rider has the lowest accumulated time gets to wear the Yellow Jersey. The one wearing it at the end is considered the Champion.
GREEN JERSEY. The Green Jersey (maillot vert) is for sprinters and the points are awarded for intermediate and finish-line sprints during stages. This called the Points Classification. The sprinter with the most points at the finish line in Paris wins this contest. Robbie McEwen is the defending Green Jersey champ.
POLKA-DOT JERSEY. The Polka-dot Jersey (maillot pois) is for mountain climbers and points are awarded for the first three to five riders over each mountain top. This is called the Mountains Classification. The climber with the most points by the time the Tour reaches Paris wins this contest.
WHITE JERSEY. The White Jersey is awarded to the best-placed cyclist who is under age 25. This recognizes and awards up-and-coming riders. The average age of Tour de France cyclists is 30.
TEAM CONTEST. Each team of 9 cyclists also contest for the best overall time for its riders. The team with the best time averaged among its top riders wins the Team Classification.