The races within the race – Tour jerseys and what they mean

YELLOW JERSEYThe yellow jersey — or maillot jaune — is worn by the overallrace leader, the rider who has covered the overall distance in the leastamount of cumulative time. Time bonuses (12 seconds for winning a roadstage, six seconds for winning an intermediate sprint) are deducted, andtime penalties (for infractions like dangerous riding or accepting pushesfrom spectators on the climbs) are added to riders’ stage times beforecalculating their GC (general classification) times.A major change this year is that there will be a limit on the time lostby any team (and consequently by each rider

An explanation of the different points and

Jersey winners Cooke, Armstrong, Virenque and Menchov on the 2003 final podium.

Jersey winners Cooke, Armstrong, Virenque and Menchov on the 2003 final podium.

Photo:

YELLOW JERSEY
The yellow jersey — or maillot jaune — is worn by the overallrace leader, the rider who has covered the overall distance in the leastamount of cumulative time. Time bonuses (12 seconds for winning a roadstage, six seconds for winning an intermediate sprint) are deducted, andtime penalties (for infractions like dangerous riding or accepting pushesfrom spectators on the climbs) are added to riders’ stage times beforecalculating their GC (general classification) times.A major change this year is that there will be a limit on the time lostby any team (and consequently by each rider who arrives with the firstman to finish in the team) in the team time trial. The riders on the winningteam (except for those who are dropped by their team) will all have theiractual finish time added to GC, but there will be a maximum loss of 20seconds for the second team, 30 seconds for the third, then 10-second gapsto 13th place (a 2:20 maximum loss), and then five-second gaps down to2:50 for the 21st (and last) team.In 2003, instead of the result being:
1. U.S. Postal
2. ONCE, at 0:30
3. Bianchi, at 0:43
It would have been:
1. U.S. Postal
2. ONCE, at 0:20
3. Bianchi, at 0:30.Also, 18th-placed Euskaltel-Euskadi, instead of losing 3:22, would havelost only 2:35. If the new system had been in place last year, Iban Mayowould have taken over the yellow jersey at L’Alpe d’Huez, not Lance Armstrong;and Alex Vinokourov would have displaced Armstrong as the race leader atLoudenvielle on stage 14.
2003 WINNER: LANCE ARMSTRONG, U.S. POSTALSERVICEKING OF THE MOUNTAINS
The polka-dot King of the Mountains jersey is awarded to the riderwho most consistently reaches designated summits at the front of the peloton.KoM points are given not only on major mountain passes, but also on thesmaller climbs.A new system of scoring the King of the Mountains competition is beingintroduced this year. There will be fewer points available at the intermediateclimbs and double points on the final climb of every stage — assuming thatit has a Cat. 2 or Cat. 1 designation. The aim is to put more excitementinto the competition by placing the emphasis on the critical climbs.Tour climbs are classified in five somewhat arbitrary categories:
CAT. 4 Usually less than 3km inlength, an easy pitch that amounts to no more than a sustained rise inthe road
CAT. 3 Slightly harder, up to 5kmin length
CAT. 2 Between 5km and 10km, andsteeper than a 4-percent grade
CAT. 1 Long and steep. Between10km and 20km, and steeper than a 5-percent grade.
HORS CATEGORIE (HC) OR ABOVE CATEGORY Thelongest, steepest mountain climbs. Extremely difficult climbs, sometimes15km to 20km, with grades often exceeding 10 percent.The new system should favor the pure climbers rather than lessgiftedclimbers who may break away in the early part of a stage and accumulatepoints on non-critical climbs. This system could work against six-timeKoM winner Richard Virenque of Quick Step, who is shooting for a recordseventh title this year.
2003 WINNER: RICHARD VIRENQUE, QUICK STEP-DAVITAMONPOINTS LEADER
The green points-leader’s jersey is awarded to the best all-aroundfinisher on flat, rolling and mountainous stages, as well as time trialsand intermediate “hot spot” sprints. With the highest points being awardedon flat stage finishes, the points jersey is often thought of as the sprinters’jersey, but a consistent and strategic all-rounder can also be a contender.2003 WINNER: BADEN COOKE, FDJEUX.COMHOW POINTS ARE AWARDED


FLAT STAGES: 35PTS 1ST PLACE
2ND 30pts;  3RD 26pts; 4TH 24pts; 5TH 22pts; 6TH 20pts; »and descending in one-point increments to 25th place


ROLLING STAGES: 25PTS 1ST PLACE
2ND 22pts; 3RD 20pts; 4TH 18pts; 5TH 16pts; 6TH 15pts; »and descending in one-point increments to 20th place


MOUNTAIN STAGES: 20PTS 1ST PLACE
2ND 17pts; 3RD 15pts;  4TH 13pts;  5TH 12pts; 6TH 10pts;»and descending in one-point increments to 15th place


TIME TRIALS: 15 POINTS 1ST PLACE
2ND 12pts; 3RD 10pts; 4TH 8pts; 5TH 6pts; 6TH 5pts; »and descending in one-point increments to 10th place


INTERMEDIATE SPRINTS: 6PTS 1ST PLACE
2ND 4pts 3RD 2pts (Three each day in stages 1-10, two each day in stages11-20)
 


BEST YOUNG RIDER
The white jersey — or maillot blanc — is awarded to the best-placedGC rider aged 25 or under. In order to qualify for this competition atthe 2004 Tour, riders must have been born after January 1, 1979.
2003 WINNER: DENIS MENCHOV, IBANESTO.COM (NOLONGER ELIGIBLE)TEAM CLASSIFICATION
Established by the cumulative time of the top-three individuals fromeach team on each stage.
2003 WINNER: CSCMOST COMBATIVE
Signified by a red race number, the most combative award is a somewhatsubjective points total given by race judges each day to the riders whodemonstrate the most consistent efforts in attacks and breakaways. Eachrider’s points are cumulative every stage to give an overall classification.
2003 WINNER: ALEX VINOKOUROV (NOT RACINGIN 2004)