The Skinny on the Colored Jerseys
In addition to the colorful team jerseys worn by Tour cyclists, five distinctively colored jerseys are worn by selected riders in the Tour:
Yellow Jersey- Overall Race Leader (General Classification, or GC). Introduced in 1919 to help spectators and other competitors more easily spot the race leader, the yellow jersey (maillot jaune) is awarded to the rider with the lowest accumulated time at the end of each stage. It’s possible for a Tour rider to wear the yellow jersey, and ultimately, win the overall GC, without ever winning an individual stage.
Green Jersey- Points Leader. The top finishers in each stage are awarded points based on their finish position. The rider with the most accumulated points after each stage dons a green jersey for the following stage.
Red Polka Dot Jersey- King of the Mountains. The best climbers are awarded points according to their relative finish positions at the end of each mountain and hill climb. The rider with the most accumulated climbing points at the end of a stage earns the right to wear the polka dot jersey on the following stage.
White Jersey- Best young rider (under age 25). At the end of each stage, the young rider with the lowest accumulated time is awarded a white jersey for the following stage.
Rainbow Jersey- World Champion. Predominantly white with five horizontal bands in the UCI (International Cycling Union) colors (green, yellow, black, red and blue) around the chest, the rainbow jersey is worn by the reigning world champion. Norwegian rider Thor Hushovd of Team Garmin-Cervélo is the current Road Race World Champion, and will wear the rainbow jersey in the 2011 Tour de France. Should he become the overall leader at any point in the Tour, the yellow jersey would take precedence.