The Four Jersey Winners of the 2019 Tour de France
The main contest in the Tour de France is the fight for the yellow jersey, which goes to the winner of the General Classification, or the rider who finishes with the best overall time. But many smaller tests happen as GC favourites duke it out for the marquee win. Different riders will aim to take individual stage wins on courses that suit their talents, and someone might make a bold move for the right to wear the red number as the day’s Most Combative Rider.
Then there’s the competition for the Tour’s three other jerseys: the green, polka dot, and white, awarded to the winners of the Points, Climbing, and Youth classifications. The best racers in each category can wear these colours for as long as they maintain the lead, and the final winners will don their jerseys when the race wraps up in Paris. Here’s who won the yellow, green, polka dot, and white jerseys at the 2019 Tour de France:
Yellow – Egan Bernal
Egan Bernal, the young Colombian on Ineos, had been considered a strong favourite for the overall win this year. With his superb talent in the mountains, plus his comfort riding in extreme heat and at high altitudes, he was predicted to shine in a Tour that backloaded all of its hardest climbs in the final week.
But his usually dominant super-team had a hard time pulling things together, and it wasn’t until Stage 18, the first of three days in the high Alps, where Bernal emerged as the probable winner. He was the only overall contender who put in time on Julian Alaphilippe, the Frenchman who unexpectedly led the race for 14 total stages this year, with a powerful solo attack on the day’s final climb.
Bernal then stole the yellow jersey as he led the field the following day until officials cut the stage short due to dangerous weather, and he defended it comfortably through Stage 20 when Alaphilippe finally cracked. (Bernal’s co-captain on Ineos, returning Tour champion Geraint Thomas, will join him on the final podium in second place.) He’s both the first Colombian and the first Latin American to ever win the Tour de France – though this marks the seventh win in eight years for Ineos.
Green – Peter Sagan
Peter Sagan ran away with the green jersey this year, taking the lead in the Points Classification on Stage 3 and extending it to a near-insurmountable 85 points by the end of the final week. This is a historical moment: Sagan last year tied Erik Zabel’s Tour record of six career green jersey wins. Now, he has broken that record, going home in green for the seventh time in the last eight years. The only year since 2012 when he didn’t win the jersey was 2017, when he was controversially disqualified for throwing an elbow in a move that the UCI later determined was “unintentional.”
Polka Dot – Romain Bardet
Initially thought of as a contender for the overall win, Romain Bardet had a rough Tour this year as the Frenchman struggled to find his form. He lost time to his GC rivals early on, getting dropped on the Stage 6 summit finish and never managing to mount a successful comeback (or add a fourth stage win to his résumé). That is, until the Alps, when he began a hard quest to take the polka dot jersey from Tim Wellens, who had held it since Stage 3.
Bardet racked up points on the Col d’Izoard and Col du Galibier, becoming the new leader of the King of the Mountains classification on Stage 18 – though curiously, he never actually won a climb. He then held his lead through the next two stages, aided by the fact that organizers cut out some ascents due to flooding and mudslides. In the process, he salvaged his Tour and will go home in polka dots.
White – Egan Bernal
Bernal not only won the 2019 Tour; he also has the distinction of earning the white jersey as its Best Young Rider. At only 22 years old, Bernal was the youngest competitor to finish this year’s race. He’s also the youngest Tour champion in more than a century, and the third-youngest ever (behind Henri Cornet, who won in 1904, and François Faber, in 1909). David Gaudu, about three months older than Bernal, sits more than 23 minutes behind him in second on the Youth Classification.
But because Bernal wore yellow for the final two stages, the French Groupama–FDJ rider got to race in white for a couple of days. With Bernal’s ascendancy – as well as strong performances from Tour rookies like Caleb Ewan, Enric Mas, Giulio Ciccone, and Laurens De Plus – it’s clear that a new generation of riders won’t wait for the old guard to pass the torch.