The cyclist in the yellow jersey is now in the lead.
The maillot jaune, French for “yellow jersey,” was introduced in 1919 so spectators could spot the current leader at a glance.
The battle to grab the yellow jersey has continued since the 13th Tour de France, the first to be held after World War I.
The common explanation for the jersey’s origin is that the color was chosen because it matched the yellow newsprint of the race’s organizer, sports magazine L’Auto, but another theory is that yellow was the only bright color available at the tailor’s shop.
A lap around France on bicycle, beginning and ending in Paris, but with no variable gears.
Riders can get time-reduction bonuses for placings at the finish line and certain points along the route, but generally the time taken to complete the day’s course, or stage, is what counts.
The competitor with the lowest total time over the days thus far wears the maillot jaune on the following day.
When the rider returns to Paris, the one who wins the right to wear the maillot jaune at the end of the race is the winner.
This is why how many days one has worn the maillot jaune is also a mark of honor among Tour de France racers.
The current record is 111 days, held by “The Cannibal” Eddy Merckx.
By the way, did you know the race in 1919 covered 5,560 km?
Until the 1930s, racers traversed an average of 350 km a day on their journey of over 5,000 km—which today is only 3,300 km.
If the old Tour de France were held in Japan, it would be like cycling from Tokyo to Nagoya every day, and crossing the Japan Alps on the way! Perhaps now you understand why it’s called the world’s most grueling race!
Besides, until Henri Desgrange—known as “the father of the Tour” and who reportedly thought that “variable gears are for girls”—
stepped down as Director of the Tour de France, riders climbed incredible routes through the mountains without variable gears.
Serge Laget, Luke Edwardes-Evans (2010)
“Le Tour de France 100: The Official Treasures” Studio Tac Creative
(publisher of Japanese translation)
Tatsuya Anke (2003) “Tour 100 Wa” (“100 Tour Stories”) Michitani
L’Equipe (2005) “The Official Tour De France: 1903–2004”
Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd.