The iconic yellow jersey is worn by the leader of the race according to time, the green jersey is awarded to the leader according to the points awarded for intermediate sprints and finishes, the red polka-dot jersey of the king of the mountains is based on points awarded to mounted categories, while the best young white rider is reserved for riders born after January 1, 1995.The team classification is based on time, with the riders of the leading team wearing special yellow numbers (bibs). The most aggressive runner wears a special red bib in the next stage. The most aggressive (super-combative) rider of the entire race is selected by the members of the jury at the end of the Tour de France and receives a trophy on the final podium in Paris just like the other winners of the competition.
The yellow jersey – the yellow jersey
The yellow jersey is worn by the leader of the general classification, the rider with the lowest net time in the race after each stage. The rider who takes him to Paris is crowned winner of the Tour de France, the post prestigious success of the men’s cycling season. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) won the Tour de France 2020.
The jersey is yellow because the first newspaper that organized the race, The car, was printed on yellow paper.
The classification is based on the time taken by each rider to cover the 21 stages, taking into account time penalties and time bonuses. In the event of a tie in the general classification, the hundredths of a second recorded by the timekeepers during the individual time trial stages will be included in the cumulative times in order to decide the overall winner. In the absence of a time trial or if the riders remain tied, then the positions in which they finished each stage will be added up and, as a last resort, their finishing position on the last stage will be taken into account.
Second bonuses are offered to encourage offensive runs and are deducted for the time needed to cover the stage. Bonuses of 10, 6, 4 seconds are awarded on the finish line to the first three riders of each stage, excluding time trials.
Time bonuses, confusingly referred to as Bonus Points, are awarded on major climbs or hilltops at key locations along the route. Bonus points of 8, 5 and 2 seconds are awarded during stages 2, 7, 8, 11, 14 and 15, often during late climbs to inspire attacks.
All riders must complete within the allotted time – a certain percentage (ranging from 3 to 20 percent depending on the stage and average speed) of the stage winner’s time each day in order to continue in the race. This is often a problem for sprinters, servants and injured runners when it comes to high mountains.
The green jersey – the green jersey
The green jersey is worn by the leader of the points classification. Points are awarded for stage finishes and intermediate sprints (one per stage on the road).
If the sprinters are the main candidates for the green jersey, it is the most versatile of them who have the best chances of overall success in Paris. Peter Sagan is one such runner and has won the green in seven of the last eight Tours, but was beaten by Irishman Sam Bennett last year.
Points are awarded to the first 15 riders at stage finishes or intermediate sprints, with different attributions depending on the nature of the stage. More points are awarded on flat stages than on mountain stages or against the clock. The winner of a flat stage scores 50 points, a mountain stage winner only 20.
Only riders who have completed the entire Tour de France are included in the points classification.
In the event that one or more riders finish outside the time limit but are reinstated by the chairman of the commissaires’ jury, they will lose all the points allocated to them in the points classification.
The polka-dot jersey – the white jersey with red dots
The polka dot jersey is worn by the leader of the mountain ranking, known as the “king of the mountains”.
Mountain points are offered at the top of each classified ascent, ranging from the most difficult – ‘out of category’ to the easiest – category 4.
Out of category: 20-15-12-10-8-6-4-2
Category 1: 10-8-6-4-2-1
Category 2: 5-3-2-1
Category 3: 2-1
Category 4: 1
This year, double points will be awarded at the top of the second ascent of Mont Ventoux during stage 11 as well as at the finish of stages 17 and 18.
In the event of a tie in points between two riders, the rider with the most first places at the top of passes or super-category climbs or finishes at the top will be declared the winner.
Only riders who have completed the entire Tour de France will be included in the classification of the best climber. In the event that one or more riders finish after the deadline but are reinstated by the president of the jury of commissaires, they will lose all the points which were allotted to them in the classification of the best climber.
The white jersey – the white jersey
At the end of the Tour de France in Paris, the super combative prize is awarded to the most aggressive rider of the entire race, selected by the members of the jury
The white jersey is worn by the leader of the best youth classification. A “young runner” is anyone born after January 1, 1995, and therefore anyone under 25 years of age. The jersey goes to the best placed in the general classification.
Tadej Pogacar won both the white and yellow jersey in 2020 and the white jersey is often an indication of future Tour de France contenders.
The red bib
The special red bib number is awarded to the runner judged, subjectively, the “most combative” the day before. It is generally the most active rider in the breakaway or someone who shows panache and aggressiveness or even sportsmanship qualities.
The prize, which is awarded on each road stage with the exception of the final, is decided by a jury chaired by the clerk of the course. The most aggressive runner in each stage wears a red race bib on the next stage. The most aggressive rider in the race (super-combative) is selected by the members of the jury at the end of the Tour de France.
Wearing the leader’s jersey is compulsory from the registration protocol before the start of the stage until the post-stage press conference. Wetsuits are provided to the leaders of the different classifications of the time trial stages, with special try-on sessions held the day before the time trials.
The yellow bib number is worn by the team members at the top of the team classification. It is calculated by adding the times of the three best riders of each team on each stage. Any team reduced to less than three riders will be eliminated from the team classification.
Riders can lead multiple jersey rankings but only wear one jersey in the race. There is an order of priority established for the different leader’s jerseys: the yellow jersey, followed by the green jersey, then the red polka-dot jersey and finally the white jersey.
When a runner is at the head of several classifications, he carries the one designated by the order of priority. The other jerseys are then worn by the runners classified 2nd, 3rd or 4th of the corresponding classification.
Prize money has traditionally not been the biggest part of a rider’s annual earnings, but Tour de France prize money has grown to over € 2 million. For the 2021 race, a total of 2,228,450 € will be put into play by the organizer of the ASO race.
The winner of the Tour de France wins 500,000 euros with smaller amounts for the other riders in the top 20. Even a rider in the top 160 is awarded symbolic 1,000 euros.
The stage winners collect € 11,000, the winner of the points classification € 128,000, the king of the mountains € 108,700, the team classification winners € 178,800, the best youngster € 66,500 and the most aggressive rider € 56,000, with amounts lower than those of the top eight and top five categories.
Runners traditionally pool all of their prize money, with one runner in each designated as the team accountant. A share of the cash prizes is also given to hard-working team personnel.
Teams and sponsors also grant special performance bonuses, but the amounts are rarely made public. The success of the Tour de France is rewarded with increasingly important contracts for the following seasons with a winner of the Tour de France likely to earn between three and five million per season.