Red, white, green and yellow!

Guide to jersey colours

As we have been able to get used to it during the big multi-day competitions like Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana, different colourful jerseys are worn by cyclists – this year, during Hungary’s biggest cycling race, there will be a huge fight for these jerseys. The focus will be on 4 colours: yellow, green, red and white.

(Just before we start: the order of the colours is not arbitary, usually the most prestigious one should be mentioned and in our case it is the yellow for the overall leader. The second one is for the best sprinter, the red is the colour of the leader of the mountain classification and finally, white goes to the best Hungarian).

The yellow jersey, certainly the biggest dream and aim of each cyclists, the most well-known, acknowledged „symbol” that can be worn only by few competitors. To wear this jersey is such a huge honor and prestigious fact. It designates the overall leader of the race so far, so it means this is awarded after each stage or race days to the rider who is the overall leader that time.

The winner of the 2018 Tour de Hongrie in the yellow yersey: Manuel Belletti

So, this will happen also during the race days of Tour de Hongrie. However, just an interesting quick fact: earlier once, when a big bevarage company was a sponsor of the Hungarian event, the overall leader and then winner could wear a red jersey.

Born in France

Did you know? During the 1st Tour de France the overall leader worn a special bracelet, not a jersey. Then later, in 1919, because of a little pressure by the L’Auto Magazine, organisers introduced the yellow jersey. Well, earlier they also tried this, but the Belgian Philippe Thys refused to wear it. Officially Eugene Christophe was the very first cyclist who could wear this yellow one, after a hard and tought stage.

Hungarian Sandor Szalontay in yellow at the start in Fertőd

There were a lot of aim and reasons why jerseys were introduced – not only advertisement. First of all, by wearing the yellow jersey, the current leader of the event could be seen easier by the fans, crowd and media. During the Tour de France in 1919 only eleven cyclists were competing, and Christophe was quiet unhappy because by wearing the yellow, everyone could check his position. Then, to be fair, he also did not like that his rivals called him „Canary”. With his thoughts, these feeling in his mind, with such a big burden, he reached Paris just in the 3rd position.

From Canary to Cannibal

The special yellow year by year have had bigger and bigger prestige, even when people could hear some scandals. In the ’60s the negative judgement of the yellow jersey ended and several victories in row by Jacques Anquetil gave a new meaning and even higher prestige of the jersey. After this, to wear the yellow was a privilege.

The „Cannibal”, Eddy Merckx was wearing the yellow during 96 days in his professional carreer and he won five Tour de France as well. In the meantime, it also must be mentioned that the famous „maillot jaune” was worn by Bernard Hinault, Miguel Indurain and Jacques Anquetil for more than 50 days.

The bests in 2016 in the colourful jerseys

Anyway, in different countries different jerseys can be won, the leader of the Giro is able to wear a pink one, and in Spain the best is awarded with a red. Then, of course there are much more types in other races.

Moreover! Since 1972 the current world champion has a special, rainbow-colored jersey (white with green, yellow, black, red, blue lines, like the Olympic symbol), and each national champion has his own one.


Certainly, during this year’s Tour de Hongrie, all cyclists are going to doh is very best to have the special privilege to wear the magical yellow jersey – even for only a day or stage. Finally: what are the meaning of the different colours?

Yellow: wearing by the overall winner of the race, see detailed information above. – WOW Hungary Award
Green: the sprinter jersey. At every stage points are awarded to the first few riders who cross the finish line. Some stages have also mini sprints within the stage that are also worth points. – Europcar Award
Red: usually known as the „King of the Mountain Jersey”. Points are awarded to the first rider who reaches the crest of designated hills and mountains. – Bringasport Award
White: Can be worn by the best Hungarian rider in the overall standing. – Cofidis Award