Sign up for our newsletter


The competition for the Tour de France jerseys

Jordan Gibbons
27 Jul 2015

Chris Froome secures the yellow jersey for a second time while Andre Greipel takes the win on the Champs-Élysées.

Stage 21 – Sevres-Grand Paris Seine Ouest - Paris Champs-Élysées

Chris Froome waves as he rides to Paris

After the brief flirtation with holding the last stage in the evening, and forcing the yellow jersey wearer to don a sequined number, the final parade into Paris returned to normal for 2015. Not all was entirely normal however as due to incredibly treacherous conditions, the ‘3km rule’ was extended to the end of the first lap of the Champs-Elysees to encourage some exciting racing.

Could Peter Sagan secure the elusive win and cement his fourth yellow jersey? Sadly not. Andre Greipel stormed away from the field in the final few metres to bag his fourth win of the Tour.

Final jersey standings were: 

Yellow jersey – Chris Froome
Green jersey – Peter Sagan
Polka dot jersey – Chris Froome
White jersey – Nairo Quintana

Stage 20 – Mondane Valfrehus – Alpe d’Huez

Nairo Quintana attacks on Alpe d'Huez

Stage 20 was the final chance Nairo Quintana had to bridge the gap to Chris Froome but it wasn’t to be. Thibaut Pinot secured his second stage win on Alpe d’Huez amid the smoke bombs and the Dutch after FDJ attacked right from the start.

Chris Froome on Alpe d"Huez

Further down the mountain GC the action was really kicking off. With just over 9km to go, Quintana attacked and Froome was unable to follow. Quintana ultimately managed to take 1’ 20”out of the lead, but it still left Quintana with a 1’ 12” gap. Another mountain stage and perhaps Quintana could have pinched it but there wasn’t one so he just plain old ran out of road.

Jerseys at the end of Stage 20 were Froome in the yellow jersey and polka dot jersey (worn by Romain Bardet), Peter Sagan in the green jersey and Nairo Quintana in the white jersey.

Stage 19 – Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – La Toussuire - Les Sybelles

Chris Froome climbing on Stage 19 of the 2015 Tour de France

You know it’s going to be a tough stage when riders are on the rollers in the depart village. The race exploded from the very start but it was Vincenzo Nibali who won after breaking away over the top of the Croix de Fer.

Stage 19 was the first time that Team Sky started to look really vulnerable. The fast pace quickly shelled many of the Sky domestiques but they had reformed in time for the race across the valley to the foot of the Croix de Fer. Come the climb to La Toussuire, Froome was quickly isolated and with 4km to go Nairo Quintana launched his attack. Froome appeared to be keeping up but soon slipped back and lost over 30 seconds by the time he reached the finish. Everything is set up for a final show down on the 21 bends of Alpe d’Huez with Quintana just 2 minutes 38 seconds behind.

The jerseys remain almost unchanged: Chris Froome holds the yellow jersey, Peter Sagan holds the green jersey, Romain Bardet takes the polka dot jersey and Nairo Quintana holds the white jersey.

Stage 18 – Gap – Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne

Romain Bardet wins Stage 18 of the 2015 Tour de France

After escaping his breakaway companions near the top of the Col du Glandon, Romain Bardet descended like a man possessed to take his first ever stage win at the Tour de France. Bardet had shown his descending skills previously at the Dauphine so it was exciting to see him open up a 40 second gap on the descent of the Glandon and hold it for over 40km to the finish. 

Nairo Quintana looks back at Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome

Behind him the GC contenders were doing their best to hurt Froome, and for a brief moment he looked like he had been gapped, but he was never really in difficulty. Joaquim Rodrqiguez’ liveliness on the climbs has won him the polka dot jersey from Froome, but with only two alpine stages remain the competition looks almost sewn up. Chris Froome hold the yellow jersey, Peter Sagan holds the green jersey, Joaquim Rodriguez holds the polka dot jersey and Nairo Quintana holds the white jersey.

Stage 17 – Digne-les-Bains – Pra Loup

Nairo Quintana attacks Chris Froome on the climb to Pra Loup

The first stage after a rest day can be a funny one and 2015 was no exception, with many riders abandoning (including Teejay Van Garderen) on the early slopes. Not many would have predicted the stage winner, Simon Geschke took his first Tour de France victory after he rode away from the breakaway group with 50km to go.

Alberto Contador crashes on the descent from the Col d'Allos

GC drama was expected on the descent of the Col d’Allos and the final climb up to the ski station at Pra Loup. Eddy Merckx famously cracked on the slopes of Pra Loup and lost the Tour so the air was fizzing with excitement. As billed, the descent claimed a couple of victims, one of whom was Alberto Contador who ended up losing over 2 minutes and with it any hopes of the overall. Alejandro Valverde, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana all tried their best but were unable to shake Chris Froome. 

The jersey competition remains completely unchanged: Froome holds the yellow jersey and the polka dot (worn by Joaquim Rodriguez), Sagan holds the green jersey and Quintana holds the white jersey.

Stage 16 - Bourg-de-Péage - Gap  

Ruben Plaza wins Stage 16 of the 2015 Tour de France

Some stages are known for their climbs but this stage will be known for its descent. The descent off the Col de Manse down to Gap is a fast technical descent that’s famous for Joseba Beloki’s career-ending crash and Lance Armstrong’s impromptu cyclocross.

Now it will be famous for Peter Sagan’s descending masterclass and Geraint Thomas getting punted off the road. Once again Sagan didn’t quite have the legs and bagged himself another second place, beaten to the finish by Ruben Plaza. 

Geraint Thomas crashes on Stage 16 of the 2015 Tour de France

Most expected a GC attack and Vincenzo Nibali delivered. A short punch near the top of the climb opened up a 15 second gap that he held until the finish. Jerseys again unchanged: Chris Froome holds the yellow jersey and the polka dot jersey (worn by Joaquim Rodriguez), Peter Sagan holds the green jersey and Nairo Quintana holds the white jersey.

Stage 15 – Mende – Valence

Andre Greipel wins Stage 15 of the 2015 Tour de France

The road to Valence gave us a sprint stage that the sprint trains had to work hard for. All they had to do was usher the 75kg powerhouses over the four categorised climbs before 60km run in to the finish. Victory on the day went to Andre Greipel who outsprinted fellow strong men John Degenkolb and Alexander Kristoff. Peter Sagan’s fourth place means that Greipel is within touching distance of the green jersey – just as the race heads back into the mountains.

Once again the jersey competition remained unchanged – Chris Froome holds onto the yellow jersey and polka dot jersey (worn by Joaquim Rodriguez), Peter Sagan holds the green jersey and Nairo Quintana holds the white jersey. 

Stage 14 – Rodez – Mende

Steve Cummings wins Stage 14 of the 2015 Tour de France

Stage 14 was the victory no one saw coming, or at least if they did see it coming, they should go out and buy a lottery ticket. Steve Cummings bagged his first Tour de France stage win for himself and for his team MTN-Qhubeka. While Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet were busy looking at each other, Cummings stuffed it up the inside on the descent before taking two absolute flying corners with enough speed to give him a gap that the Frenchmen couldn’t close. Chapeau! 

Chris Froome in the yellow jersey, Stage 14 of the 2015 Tour de France

A kilometre back down the road the GC contenders were softening each other up but Chris Froome was once again the victor and extended his overall lead. The jerseys remained completely unchanged. Chris Froome holds the yellow jersey and the polka dot jersey (worn by Joaquim Rodriguez), Peter Sagan holds the green jersey and Nairo Quintana holds the white jersey.

Stage 13 – Moret – Rodez

Greg Van Avermaet wins Stage 13 of the 2015 Tour de France

The Stage 13 route was made for Peter Sagan but it wasn’t to be. Greg Van Avermaet, ironically the guy who was known for being the eternal nearly, pushed him back into second place.

Jean Christophe Peraud crashes on Stage 13 of the 2015 Tour de France

Of course it’s not the Tour without crashes and Jean-Christophe Peraud was the days big loser. A tumble onto hot sticky tarmac meant that Peraud was ripped to shreds leaving him with very little skin or modesty. Despite this Peraud got up, chased down a three minute deficit back to the bunch and handed out the water bottles he picked up on the way. Hard man of the Tour? We think so.

Nothing much happened in GC – Chris Froome remains in yellow and polka dot jerseys (worn by Joaquim Rodriguez), Peter Sagan holds the green jersey and Nairo Quintana holds the white jersey. 

Stage 12 - Lannemezan - Plateau de Beille

Joaquim Rodriguez attacks on Stage 12 of the 2015 Tour de France

The last mountain finish in the Pyrennes had the potential for a big GC shake up and Chris Froome was certainly starting to look vulnerable. A breakaway went clear early in the stage containing Joaquim Rodriguez, who took the win after attacking 7.5km from the finish line.

Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde on Stage 12 of the 2015 Tour de France

Further down the mountain with the GC contenders and the attacks were only just starting. Alberto Contador kicked off proceedings, followed by Vincenzo Nibali but they were both eventually reeled in. Next came the one-two attacks from two Movistar riders, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, but neither were enough to dislodge Chris Froome. The jerseys remain virtually unchanged: Chris Froome holds the yellow jersey and polka dot (worn by Joaquim Rodriguez), Peter Sagan holds the green jersey and Nairo Quintana holds the white jersey.

Stage 11 - Pau - Cauterets-Vallée de Saint-Savin

The second trip to the mountains was arguably less dramatic than the first. The route had breakaway written all over it and after a day of tough racing it was no real surprise to see little in the way of a GC shake up.

Rafal Majka attacks on the Tourmalet, 2015 Tour de France

Victory on the day went Rafal Majka, winner of the 2014 polka dot jersey, who rode away from his breakaway companions on the Tourmalet. Chapeau also goes to Dan Martin whose gutsy attack won him back nearly five minutes on the GC and the combativity award. Chris Froome retained the yellow jersey and polka dot jersey (worn by Richie Porte), Peter Sagan took back the green jersey and Nairo Quintana held the white jersey.

Stage 10 - Tarbes - La Pierre-Saint-Martin  

Chris Froome attacks Nairo Quintana on Stage 10 of the 2015 Tour de France

Fireworks come to the Tour de France as the race enters the mountains. Apart from a couple of little tumbles and a small breakaway, Stage 10 was pretty uneventful until it reached the bottom of the climb to La Pierre-Saint-Martin – a 15.3km, 7.4& avg. HC climb 

Chris Froome pushes fans out of the way on Stage 10 of the 2015 Tour de France

It all stayed together for a few kilometers but as the pace ramped up, riders were steadily shelled from the bunch – first 2014 champion Vincenzo Nibali and then 2015 Giro winner Alberto Contador. With 6.2km to go, Chris Froome launched a devastating attack off Richie Porte’s wheel. Nairo Quintana was unable to match the pace and was eventually caught, and passed, by Porte. Froome retains the yellow jersey and now takes the polka dot jersey, Andre Greipel regained the green jersey after an intermediate sprint and Quintana holds the white jersey.

Stage 9 – Vannes – Plumelec (TTT)

Team Sky, Team Time Trial, 2015 Tour de France

Time trials aren’t the most exciting stages to watch, as the cameras aren’t allowed in front of the riders. Time trials are also usually quite predictable but Stage 9 had more than enough interest to keep us hooked. The win went to BMC but Team Sky was just one second behind. The notable performance came from Movistar – their riders efforts meant they boosted Nairo Quintana well up the GC rankings.

Chris Froome congratulates Teejan Van Garderen

Team Sky were going well although Nicholas Roche faded in the final few hundred metres and likely cost them the win. Chris Froome held the yellow jersey, Peter Sagan held the green and white jerseys (although worn by Nairo Quintana) and Daniel Teklehaimanot held onto the polka dot jersey.

Stage 8 – Rennes – Mûr-de-Bretagne

Chris Froome in the yellow jersey, Stage 8 2015 Tour de France

The first taste of an uphill finish at the Tour saw the field pulled apart. Alexis Vuillermoz of Ag2r counter attacked with 800m to go after a surge by Chris Froome, with few able to follow. Hat tip goes to Dan Martin who started a little too late to catch Vuillermoz but secured second.

Andre Greipel lost the green jersey on Stage 8 to Peter Sagan who also still holds the white jersey (but now worn by Warren Barguil). Chris Froome retained the yellow jersey and Daniel Teklehaimanot kept the polka dot jersey.

Stage 7 – Livarot – Fouègres

Mark Cavendish wins sprint, 2015 Tour de France

Just as everyone was ready to write him off, Mark Cavendish ended his two-year drought by winnings the sprint into Fougères. There was no yellow jersey present on Stage 7 as Tony Martin, the holder at the time, did not start the stage. The stage itself was fairly uneventful, barring the odd crashes, so there were no big shake-ups.

Daniel Teklehaimanot in the polka dot jersey, 2015 Tour de France

Despite a poor lead out, Mark Cavendish managed to latch onto Andre Greipels wheel, before popping out and taking the win. At one point it looked like he was going to be boxed in by Peter Sagan but a bit of shoulder barging soon opened up a gap that Cavendish exploited. Daniel Teklehaimanot held onto the polka dot jersey, Andre Greipel then green and Peter Sagan held onto the white jersey.

Stage 6 – Abbeville – Le Havre 

Daniel Teklehaimanot in the polka dot jersey, 2015 Tour de France

The curse of the yellow jersey strikes again. On paper, the 190km trip to Le Havre didn’t have much to offer but once again we were proved wrong. An early breakaway went clear that contained Daniel Teklehaimanot riding for MTN Qhubeka. Teklehaimanot made an effort to get all the mountains points on offer, winning the polka dot jersey and becoming the first African rider to wear a leaders’ jersey at the Tour de France.

Tony Martin crashes on Stage 6 of the 2015 Tour de France while holding the yellow jersey

Mixed fortunes for Etixx-Quick Step. Although one of their riders, Zdenek Stybar, won the stage, Tony Martin was caught up in a huge crash that ended his Tour whilst he held the yellow jersey. He won’t be starting Stage 7 so the jersey will return to Chris Froome. The green jersey remains with Andre Greipel and the white jersey with Peter Sagan.

Stage 5 – Arras Communauté Urbaine - Amiens Métropole 

Nacer Bouhanni crash, 2015 Tour de France

Crosswinds and crashes were the order of the day on Stage 5 of this year’s Tour de France. As the peloton wound its way through northern France’s rain soaked roads it seemed inevitable that we wouldn’t have a full complete of riders come the finish. A crash early on took out Nacer Bouhanni and a later crash all but ended Thibaut Pinot’s GC hopes.

Split in the peloton, Stage 5 of the 2015 Tour de France

In the end it all came together just in time for a huge bunch sprint. Andre Greipel took the win after the poor Etixx sprint train dumped Mark Cavendish into the wind too early. Kudos goes to Peter Sagan who came out of nowhere to snatch second. There were actually no changes to the jerseys – Tony Martin held the yellow, Peter Sagan held the green, Joaquim Rodriguez held the polka dot and Peter Sagan held onto the white jersey.

Stage 4 – Seraing – Cambrai

Chris Froome in the yellow jersey, Stage 4 2015 Tour de France

Stage 4 of the Tour promised to shake up the GC contenders and there’s no doubting it delivered. The race took in 223.5km of Northern France, passing through seven different cobbled sectors. There were numerous little shunts and slips but no big calamaties amongst the GC, except perhaps for Alberto Contador who had to ride the last 25km with a broken wheel.

Tony Martin wins Stage 4 of the 2015 Tour de France

Tony Martin was the day’s winner thanks to a daring breakaway with just 3km to go. Martin was only 1” down on the GC but with time bonuses he comfortably nudged Chris Froome into second place and subsequently donned the yellow jersey. Andre Greipel holds onto the green jersey, Joaquim Rodriguez the polka dot and Peter Sagan the white.

Stage 3 – Anvers – Mur de Huy

Fabian Cancellara helped over the line on the Mur de Hoy

The first week of the Tour is always thrilling for good and bad reasons. Unfortunately Stage 3 will probably be remembered not for the exciting finish up the Mur de Huy but instead for the horrible crash that forced the yellow and white jerseys to withdraw from the race. To give you an idea of what goes on in the aftermath of a ‘chute’ Orica-Greenedge uploaded the following video from a mechanic’s camera.

Fabian Cancellara started the stage in yellow but was forced to withdraw from the Tour after fracturing two vertebrae in his lower back. Joaquim Rodriguez took the stage win and the polka dot jersey, closely followed by Chris Froome. Thanks to time bonuses Chris Froome edged into the yellow jersey over Tony Martin by just one second. Tom Domoulin was also forced out of the race because of the crash so the white jersey has transferred to Peter Sagan. Andre Greipel still holds the green jersey.

Stage 2 – Utrecht - Zelande

Rohan Dennis yellow jersey

Stage 2 of this years Tour saw the peloton broken apart by crosswinds. Whilst there was only one real victor, as Fabian Cancellara took the yellow jersey in what may be his final year, there were plenty of losers with Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali both losing time. The stage winner on the day was Andre Greipel who nabbed the green jersey in the process. Tom Domoulin remained in the white jersey.

Stage 1 – Utrecht - Utrecht

Rohan Dennis Stage 1 2015 Tour de France time trial

Stage 1 was a short TT to open the proceedings and it was a great way to kick things off. It looked at times like Fabian Cancellera was going to do it but the man on the day, riding the fastest individual TT in Tour history, was Rohan Dennis who put on his first yellow jersey. Tony Martin finished second so he put on the green jersey. Rounding out the jerseys was Tom Domoulin who captured the young rider jersey.

The history of the Tour de France jerseys


There are four different jerseys up for grabs at the Tour de France each year for a different competition. We’ve put together a guide to the four jerseys including some notable examples of past winners.

The yellow jersey – the leader’s jersey

The maillot jaune (or ‘Mellow Johnny’ to Lance Armstrong) is awarded to the rider with the shortest overall time and is also known as the ‘individual classification’ leader. The time is cumulative across the stages so by the end of the first stage the gap may only be seconds but by the end of the Tour the time gaps are usually measured in minutes.

For 2015 there are time bonuses awarded at certain points in the race that help to reduce the overall time. Bonus seconds will be awarded for the top three finishers of Stage 2 to Stage 8, which will likely ensure that the yellow jersey swaps hands plenty of times during the first week. The Tour de France no longer operates a combined leaders jersey so if a rider holds the yellow jersey and another jersey (the mountain classification for instance), they wear the yellow jersey and the second placed rider in the other competition wears the other jersey.

2014 winner – Vincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali, Stage 17, 2014 Tour de France, yellow jersey

First worn by Maurice Garin back in 1903, the most recent person to don the yellow jersey was last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali. Nibali finished in a time of 89 hours 59 minutes and 6 seconds beating second place finisher Jean-Christophe Peraud by 7 minutes and 39 seconds.

Notable winner – Frederico Bahamontes

Frederico Bahamontes, Tour de France yellow jersey

Also known as ‘The Eagle of Toledo’, Bahamontes was a talented climber who was the first person to win the mountains classification in all three grand tours. He won the general classification just once, in 1959, after a well-timed breakaway in the Pyrennes.

The green jersey – the sprinters' jersey

The green jersey is officially named the individual points jersey but is often called the sprinter’s jersey to avoid confusion with the climber’s. Points are awarded at stage finishes and selected points within a stage known as intermediate sprints.

The way the points are allocated has been changed for 2015 to be much more heavily weighted towards stage winners and pure sprinters. Under the new points system you would need four fourth places to top the points of one win.

The points system has also been changed to favour winners of flat stages over winners on ‘medium mountain’ or ‘high mountain’ stages. A win on a flat sprint stage is worth 50 points compared to 20 on a mountainous stage. Points are available for the individual time trial stage but not for the team time trial.

2014 winner – Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan, 2014 Tour de France, Green jersey

Picking up his third green jersey in 2014, the Slovakian puncheur is on quite a roll. Despite a miss on Stage 1, Sagan picked up the green jersey on Stage 2 and held it all the way to Paris despite not registering a single win.

Notable winner – Sean Kelly

Bernard Hinault and Phil Anderson, 1982 Tour de France

Sean Kelly is mostly known as a classics rider due to his domination of one day races in the 1980s but he also won the green jersey four times. Famous for his breakaways, success in bad weather and offering two donkeys as a prize at a charity auction - he can now be heard offering his unique insight on cycling for Eurosport.

The polka dot jersey – the climbers' jersey

Commonly known as the ‘King of the Mountains’ competition the polka dot jersey is awarded on a points basis to the best climber in the Tour de France. Points are awarded to the first riders to summit a mountain pass with 25 on offer for HC climbs down to 1 point for a Cat 4. The points are doubled in the event of a mountain top finish such as on stages 17, 19 and 20.

2014 winner – Rafal Majka

Rafal Majka, 2014 Tour de France, polka dot jersey

Majka was a last minute addition for Tinkoff-Saxo in 2014 but after Alberto Contador’s exit he was the only real success for the team. After winning Stage 14 he took the polka dot jersey on Stage 16. Another win on Stage 17 secured the first ever King of the Mountains win for a Polish cyclist.

Notable winner – Richard Virenque

Richard Virenque climber's jersey

Richard Virenque won the climbers competition seven times between 1994 and 2004 and finished on the podium twice. Sadly he’s best known for being caught up in the Festina doping scandal that stuck with him until he retired.

The white jersey – young-rider ranking

First introduced in 1975, the white jersey is reserved for riders under the age of 25 at the start of the year, which this year means riders born since 1st January 1990. It is awarded to the rider with the lowest overall time. To date six winners of the white jersey have gone on to win the overall classification.

2014 winner – Thibaut Pinot

Thibaut Pinot, 2014 Tour de France, White jersey

Thibaut Pinot shot to fame in 2012 thanks a win on Bastille Day and an extremely excited Marc Madiot. Widely considered the biggest young talent in French cycling, Pinot wore the jersey from Stage 16 all the way to his third place finish in Paris.

Notable winner – Laurent Fignon

Laurent Fignon 1983 white jersey

Laurent Fignon won the white jersey just once in 1983 although it’s easily forgotten as he won the overall classification too. Fignon later went on to win five more grand tours but is perhaps best known for his near miss in 1989. Fignon entered the final TT in the maillot jaune but was beaten by Greg Lemond who won by just eight seconds – the narrowest winning margin in the history of the Tour.

We’ll be updating this article as the 2015 edition of the race takes place with the various holders of the jerseys.

All images from Offside / L'Equipe

Read more about: