TdF Jerseys We’d Like to See (Because Yellow, Green, and Polka Dots Already Aren’t Enough)

Why stop at yellow, green, polka dots, and white? Here's a list of Tour de France leaders' jerseys we'd like to see awarded after each stage.

Whit Yost |

Why stop at yellow, green, polka dots, and white? Here’s a list of Tour de France leaders’ jerseys we’d like to see awarded after each stage. – By Whit Yost


Cycling’s governing body has a rule that only allows up to four leaders’ jerseys to be awarded at any given stage race. But in an event as long and as nuanced as the Tour de France, there are many more ways to honour the efforts of the 198 competitors that started in Düsseldorf on July 1. So here are our suggestions for 10 more jerseys that could be awarded after each stage. As an aid to the Tour’s organisers, we’ve offered design tips and possible sponsors (it’s all about the sponsors) to help get some of these ideas off the ground and onto the backs of the riders. Now if only we could do something about that rule…


Vittel King of the Watercarriers jersey

Sponsored by Vittel, the Tour’s bottled water sponsor, the light blue King of the Watercarriers jersey would honour the rider who transports the most water bottles from his team car to his teammates throughout the Tour. Scoring would be simple: riders would earn a point for each bottle they ferry to a teammate. (Points would not be earned for bottles left undelivered or thrown to the side of the road.) Bonus points could be earned for bottles delivered during tense moments of a stage such as during the last 20km of a flat stage or on a summit finish. Last year, Lotto-Soudal’s Adam Hansen famously carried 11 bottles to his teammates during one delivery, making him an early contender to win this jersey.


BiC Best Beard Jersey

For decades, facial hair was a “no-no” among professional cyclists. But thanks to men like Sir Bradley Wiggins and Luca Paolini, it’s becoming more fashionable for riders to save their razors for their legs. Presented by Tour-sponsor BiC, the Tour’s white and yellow-striped (like a barber’s pole) Beard Leader’s jersey would be worn by the rider with the best facial hair. The Tour’s travelling barber would be judge and jury each morning, inspecting each rider’s face for creativity, even trimming, and nicks. Team Sunweb’s Simon Geschke is the early favourite to win this. The German is perhaps known more for his thick beard than the Tour de France stage he won in 2015.


Ibis Best Baroudeur Jersey

During each day of the Tour, France’s l’Equipe newspaper keeps an unofficial tally of the Tour’s best baroudeur. French for “adventurer,” this baroudeur classification keeps track of which riders spend the most kilometres in breakaways. It’s a way of giving credit to the guys who animate the race—even if they don’t always end up with something to show for it. Well, thanks to Ibis, the Tour’s hotel sponsor, the leader of the soon-to-be official Baroudeur Classification would get to wear a red, green, and blue jersey that’s printed each morning with the number of kilometers he’s spent off the front. Had this jersey existed during Jens Voigt’s career, the German would have been regular contender.

RELATED: How a Tour Breakaway Works


Tissot Lanterne Rouge Jersey

The lanterne rouge is the rider in last place on the Tour’s General Classification—the caboose of the train. It’s been a prestigious (albeit unofficial) title for many years, one which some riders have even tried to win. (Imagine someone trying to finish last!) Tissot, as the Tour’s official timing sponsor, would be a perfect choice to present a jersey to the rider in last place on GC each day. A black jersey with a big red circle in the center, the Tissot Lanterne Rouge would give riders with little to shoot for something to shoot for, and a bit of recognition for just finishing the race each day—which is an accomplishment in itself. Maybe Belgium’s Wim Vansevenant, who won three consecutive lanterne rouge titles from 2006 to 2008, could be coaxed onto the podium to present the jersey each day.


AG2R La Mondiale Best “Veteran” Rider Jersey

The Tour already has a Best Young Rider classification that awards a white jersey to the best-placed rider under the age of 26. But as the Tour quickly becomes a young man’s sporting event, why not honour the “veterans” of the Tour peloton? Sponsored by AG2R La Mondiale, a French retirement fund group, the new grey Best “Veteran” Rider jersey (because Best “Old” Rider would be disrespectful) would honour the best-placed rider over the age of 35. A top contender in this year’s Tour might be France’s Thomas Voeckler: The 38-year-old is riding his final Tour de France, and plans to retire immediately upon completing the race. While winning one last stage is probably his number-one priority, winning the grey jersey would be a nice consolation prize should a stage victory prove too hard to get.


Krys Combination Jersey

Once upon a time, the Combination Jersey was awarded to riders who had the best combined ranking on the Tour’s General Classification, Points Classification, and King of the Mountains Classification. An attempt to recognise the Tour’s best all-around rider, it was calculated by simply adding up a rider’s ranking on each classification; the rider with the lowest total was the leader. From when it was first introduced in 1968 to 1974, the leader was given a white jersey (this was before the days of the Tour’s Best Young Rider jersey). But when the classification was re-introduced in 1985 until its final in 1989, the leader was given a jersey which looked as if it were pieced together with patches from each of the other three classifications. Krys, which makes glasses, contacts and other optical products would be a great sponsor. (A pair of sunglasses is probably the only way you can look at the technicolour patchwork combo jersey and not go blind.)


St. Michel Intermediate Sprint Jersey

For many years, the Tour’s organisers have tinkered with intermediate sprints, sprints located in the middle of the stage that currently offer points toward the Tour’s green jersey competition. But from 1966 to 1989, intermediate sprint points were tallied via their own classification. From 1984 to 1989, the leader of the Intermediate Sprint competition was given a red jersey after each stage. So why not bring this jersey back? It would certainly make intermediate sprints a bit more exciting. It would also reward teams who consistently put riders in breakaways, many of whom are French. St. Michel makes the little packets of madeleine cookies that are thrown by the thousands from the publicity caravan. They’re the perfect snack food: an intermediate pick-me-up between that odd breakfast “buffet” you had at your hotel that morning and the dinner you might have tonight.


Budget Rent-a-Car Best ROI Jersey

There’s a huge discrepancy in the annual budgets of the teams that ride the Tour de France each year. According to a list published by l’Equipe during last year’s Tour, Team Sky had a budget of about 35 million euro, while French wild card team Fortuneo-Vital Concept had a budget of 3.5 million euro. Imagine riding for Fortuneo knowing that you’re racing against a team with ten times the budget of your own. Now imagine how you’d feel if you knew there were a jersey that honoured the highest-placed rider from the teams with the Tour’s smallest budgets. Inspiring, right? Teams with annual budgets of less than 10 million euro would qualify, and the best-placed rider from each of these teams would wear a black jersey with white diagonal to symbolise the fact that they’re keeping their team in the black. The jersey could be presented by Budget Rent-a-Car, who doesn’t sponsor the Tour currently, but might decide to if such a jersey were created.


Strava Segment King Jersey

In last year’s Tour de France, many of the Tour’s 198 riders were on Strava, and the number is sure to rise during the 2017 edition. To capitalise on the interest and fun, the new orange Strava Segment King jersey would be awarded after each stage to the rider who was the fastest on particular segment that was chosen prior to the stage. After all, the Points, Intermediate Sprints, and King of the Mountains classifications reward the riders who get there first, so why not honour the riders who get there fastest? The possibilities are endless with this one: we could create a Strava GC in which the orange jersey goes to the rider with the lowest combined time on all Strava segments. Or give the jersey at the end of the race to the rider who won the most segments during the Tour’s three weeks. The best part, fans can compare themselves directly to the riders to see how they measure up. What’s not to love?

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