The Tour de France Explained – What Do Those Jerseys, Points, & Terms Mean?

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Watching the Tour de France this year and wondering what the heck the commentators are talking about? Why does that one rider looks like he has the measles? Everyone seems to want to wear a yellow jersey, what the heck for? The Tour is a complicated and exciting race interwoven with several mini-races that allow different types of riders to stay deep in the competition.

For instance, you’ve got the green jersey for sprinters who can go fast on flat roads, but barely tag along at the back of the peleton in the climbing stages. That fellow in polka dots, well he’s in the running for the best (if not skinniest) climber in the pack. These jerseys are awarded for points that riders collect for being the first to cross a finish or intermediate line. The yellow and white jerseys are based on lowest overall time. Some riders, in effect, are racing for time while others race for points.

Well, it would take me far too long to sit and explain all of the intricacies of the Tour to you, so I’ll let this video do it for me. Here, you’ll get caught up on all you need to know to best enjoy the race in a quick, 10-minute lesson. If my skilled eyes didn’t catch it, however, the video seems to skip over the Best Team Classification. The team that sports those fancy yellow race bibs (the numbers pinned onto their pockets) is currently leading the Team competition. To win the best team in the overall, the times of each team’s top riders are calculated, and the lowest time leads the competition.

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Oh yah, the fellow providing the voiceover has a fairly thick French accent. While he may be slightly difficult to understand, it really adds to the authenticity of the film. But, be forewarned anyway.

A hearty thanks to my friend, Kat, for sharing this video with me in the first place!

About Bek 301 Articles
SLO Cyclist's former chief editor and recovering road snob, Bek made sure everything ran smoothly around here. She was also the one who reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously--unless it involves black socks. Black socks are always serious.

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