The world’s biggest cycle race pushes off on 2nd July – with the Grand Départ from ‘La Manche’ – the French for [English] Channel, well sleeve to be exact, which is what they call it. It’s the 103rd Edition of ‘Le Tour’ as has become known the world over and starts at the Mt. St. Michel on the French channel coast. Over three weeks it will cover 21 stages totalling some 3,519miles taking in most of Western, South and South Eastern France.
But if you’re new to the world of cycling it can seem a complicated business. There are 4 different coloured jerseys for Race leaders for a start. And whilst most of us know that the Yellow jersey denotes the overall race leader – what about the others? Well we’re here to explain, with a quick guide to which colours the significant riders will be wearing during Le Tour 2016…
After 99 years of trying, Britain had its first winner of the event in 2012, when Sir Bradley Wiggins or ‘Le Gentlemen’ as the French nicknamed him (for his sporting behaviour) became the first ever Brit to win the famous race. It was a perfectly timed and confidence building success for the UK – coming in the run up to the opening of London 2012.
To mark his achievement Sir Wiggo was a guest of honour during the opening ceremony and got to ring a massive bell to begin the opening ceremony of the games. Since then our own Chris Froome has one the event a further two times (2013 & 2015) and was a contender in 2014 – but crashed out, ending his race on stage 5. So us Brit’s have had a rather good run over the past 4 years. We’ve also had some specialists doing quite well in other disciplines – races within the race – which is where the other colour Jerseys come in.
The Yellow Jersey (Maillot Jeune)
The Yellow Jersey needs no introduction really – it’s the colour worn by the race leader. That’s the rider, who – judged on the aggregate time it has taken on stages so far completed – is leading the race. Traditionally – from a Yellow Jersey perspective – the final stage in Paris is a sporting and exhibition stage, so the winner is ultimately decided on the penultimate stage. Going in to the 2016 edition of Le Tour, the yellow Jersey has been awarded 2,079 times to 280 different riders. It is possible – but generally rare – to win win the Yellow Jersey without winning a stage – in fact it has only happened 6 times, most recently in 2006.
The Green Jersey (Maillot Vert)
The Green Jersey can be a bit of a confusing one. As well as the overall race, contained within some of the stages are a number of time trials. Points are awarded for where a rider finished on every stage, and also for where they finish in the time-trials. So riders that do well in the time trials, and keep close to the front on the stages, could be in for a tilt at the Green jersey.
The Polka Dot Jersey (Maillot a Pois Rouge)
The Polka Dot Jersey denotes the ‘King of the Mountains’. It is awarded to the best climber in the race, that is the rider who completes designated climbs and earns points, the steeper the climb, the tougher the grade (they range from 4 – easiest to 1 – toughest) the higher the number of points awarded.
The White Jersey (Maillot Blanc)
The White Jersey often gets overlooked. It’s awarded for best young rider. In Le Tour’s case – that’s anyone under 26. Which proves that experience matters as much as fitness – especially as no rider has won their first Tour since Laurant Fignon – at 22 years old, way back in 1983.
It begs the question whether they award a different jersey for each day of the ride – or if the leaders have to wear the same sweaty kit on consecutive days? We hope it is the former, but of course that means some storage somewhere in the organisers convoy.
If you’re a properly keen cyclist you’ll undoubtedly have a fair bit of kit. There seems to be a different bike required for just about every discipline and then there’s all the other gear – helmets, drink bottles and plenty of lycra. All that kit – even for the amateur cyclist – needs storage when it isn’t in use. So if you’re a three bike cyclist you might be on the look out for a convenient and flexible storage solution. We’ve got just that – with a small storage unit at one of our London locations. And with flexible terms you can be assured of a fair deal at the right price.