The Tour de France is screeching to a halt this Sunday, as the cyclists complete Stage 21. If you’re into cycling, you already know that it’s often fairly sure who’s going to take the yellow jersey at the end of this 128km race from Rambouillet to the Champs-Elysées in Paris. But you might not be aware that there’s an extra special celebration at the end of this year’s Tour. And that’s the yellow jersey centenary.
Yup, that’s right. It’s been a 100 years since the trademark jersey was awarded to the first place cyclist of this, the most prestigious of cycling races.
And to celebrate that yellow jersey centenary, we’re going to go all out and have an entire article dedicated to the eye-catching garment.
The first Tour de France kicked off on 1 July 1903, over 116 years ago. The first leader of the Tour de France was awarded a green armband. But that was upgraded to a yellow jersey in 1919.
Why yellow? Well that’s because L’Auto, the publication behind the creation of the Tour, was printed on yellow paper. Eugene Christophe was the very first rider to rock this yellow jersey.
Win the general classification and you’re awarded the yellow jersey. That means they must have the best cumulative time across all the stages to be awarded that jersey. It’s the most prestigious and sought after title of the whole Tour de France.
So if a rider wins multiple jerseys, the yellow jersey is the one he wears proudly.
Every team is responsible for designing and providing their own yellow jerseys. That might feel a little odd, like you have to bring your own prize to the party, but it makes sense if you think about it. The teams get to make sure all their correct branding is on the precious item.
So for that reason, every team brings multiple yellow jerseys with them just in case one of their members wins the top prize. And for this special yellow jersey centenary, we bet that all the teams have made sure they’re not caught out.
The most prolific yellow jersey winners have each won the general classification five times. And four different riders have managed this feat. Let’s take a quick snapshot of their career…
Jacques Anquetil was one of the biggest names in cycling in the 1960s. The Frenchman first won the Tour in 1957 and then he won it every year from 1961 through to 1964. He also holds the impressive title of the first person to win the Tour five times.
Hailing from the Netherlands, Eddy Merckx is one of the most successful rider in cycling’s history. Most prolific in the early 1970s, he won the Tour every year bar one from 1969 until 1974. The only year he failed to scoop the prize in this period was 1973.
French professional cyclist Bernard Hinault is a familiar name among cycling fans in the 1980s and beyond. He shot to fame dominating the Tour de France from 1978, when he first won the top title, until 1985 when he won his final general classification.
Last but certainly not least, Spanishman Miguel Induráin was the Tour de France main man in the 1990s. He’s the only person to win five victories consecutively, proudly winning the yellow jersey every year from 1991 until 1995.
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