“It wasn’t until 1919 that the records show the Tour De France organisers deciding to use a yellow jersey to signify the overall race leader and eventual winner. Or perhaps 1913, depending on who you listen to: Belgian and three-time winner Philippe Thys claimed that he was presented with the first Maillot Jaune in the 1913 edition. He promptly declined it as he declared he did not wish to be a more visible target for his rivals. Sponsor considerations soon held sway as far as the merits of not being able to skulk around un-noticed and he was cajoled by Peugeot team manager Alphonse Baugé into donning the thing. It remains a contested point as no newspapers mention a yellow-clad race leader in 1913 and we have no witnesses from the day to consult.”
I did a piece on the various classification jerseys on offer at Le Tour at the request of Always Riding. Having watched and read and cycled cycling since around the mid-80’s I kinda figured I had a pretty good handle on this topic and imagined rattling off a quick history lesson. Then I sat down and actually started delving and digesting the quirky and – as per usual with cycling – chaotically amusing stories of each of the leader’s jerseys. I’m happy to say I found a world of new anecdotes and had a lot of fun doing so.
The full piece is here if you fancy seeing if you are already the afficionado that I was clearly not…
Photo Credits: Radu Razvan, Shutterstock via Always Riding