July may be a time when most American sports take a break, but it also happens to be the month for the premier event of cycling. For the next three weeks, the best cyclists in the world will compete in the 106th Tour de France.
The 23-day, 21-stage race spanning 3,480 kilometers (2,162 miles) will set forth from Brussels, Belgium, on July 6 and wrap up in Paris on July 28. This year marks the fifth time in the race’s history that the Grand Depart has left from Brussels.
This year’s Tour de France consists of seven mountain stages with five summit finishes, five hilly stages, seven flat stages and an individual and team time trial. Twenty-two teams of eight riders each will compete in the event.
Four-time champion Chris Froome will not be riding in this year’s event, leaving just two former winners in the race – his Ineos teammate Geraint Thomas, last year’s victor, and Bahrain-Merida’s Vincenzo Nibali. An updated list of stage winners, the most recent stage standings and what the colored jerseys that riders are wearing can be found below.
Tour de France standings 2019: Through Stage 6
|1. Giulio Ciccone (Italy) – 23 hours, 14 minutes, 55 seconds|
|2. Julian Alaphilippe (France) – +00.00.06|
|3. Dylan Tuens (Belgium) – +00.00.32|
|4. George Bennett (New Zealand) – +00.00.47|
|5. Geraint Thomas (Great Britain) – +00.00.49|
Tour de France winners, results by stage
Over a span of a little more than three weeks, riders will endure a grueling course that includes seven mountain stages with five summit finishes, five hilly stages, seven flat stages and an individual and team time trial. This year marks the fifth time that Belgium has hosted the Grand Depart.
|1||July 6||192km (119 mi.)||Brussels to Brussels (flat)||Mike Teunissen|
|2||July 7||27km (16.7 mi.)||Brussels-Palais Royal to Brussels-Atomium (team time trial)||Jumbo-Visma|
|3||July 8||214km (133 mi.)||Binche to Epernay (hilly)||Julian Alaphilippe|
|4||July 9||215km (133 mi.)||Reims to Nancy (flat)||Elia Viviani|
|5||July 10||169km (105 mi.)||Saint-Die-des-Vosges to Colmar (hilly)||Peter Sagan|
|6||July 11||157km (97.5 mi.)||Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles (mountain)||Dylan Teuns|
|7||July 12||230km (142 mi.)||Belfort to Chalon-sur-Saone (flat)||—|
|8||July 13||199km (123 mi.)||Macon to Saint-Etienne (hilly)||—|
|9||July 14||170km (105 mi.)||Saint-Etienne to Brioude (hilly)||—|
|10||July 15||218km (135 mi.)||Saint-Flour to Albi (flat)||—|
|Rest day||July 16|
|11||July 17||167km (104 mi.)||Albi to Toulouse (flat)||—|
|12||July 18||202km (125.5 mi.)||Toulouse to Bagneres-de-Bigorre (mountain)||—|
|13||July 19||27km (16.7 mi.)||Pau to Pau (individual time trial)||—|
|14||July 20||117km (72.5 mi.)||Tarbes to Col du Tourmalet (mountain)||—|
|15||July 21||185km (115 mi.)||Limoux to Foix (mountain)||—|
|Rest day||July 22|
|16||July 23||177km (110 mi.)||Nimes to Nimes (flat)||—|
|17||July 24||206km (128 mi.)||Pont du Gard to Gap (hilly)||—|
|18||July 25||207km (128.5 mi.)||Embrun to Valloire (mountain)||—|
|19||July 26||123km (76 mi.)||Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes (mountain)||—|
|20||July 27||131km (81 mi.)||Albertville to Val Thorens (mountain)||—|
|21||July 28||127km (79 mi.)||Rambouillet to Paris (flat)||—|
What do the Tour de France jerseys mean?
Twenty-two teams of eight riders each will be wearing colorful jerseys plastered with the logos of various sponsors, but some jerseys carry more significant meanings – and not just the yellow one.
Below is some of the context behind the special jerseys and why a rider was selected to wear them.
The maillot jaune, the yellow jersey, is the most recognizable of the colored jerseys and indicates the cyclist with the lowest aggregate time prior to the start of that day’s stage. Only three times in the history of the Tour de France has the same rider worn the yellow jersey for the entirety of the race.
The “King of the Mountains” earns the privilege of wearing the polka-dot jersey.
Riders are awarded points for the order they cross the summit of climbs. Mountains are graded according to steepness, length and position on the course, with points corresponding to the grade. The maillot à pois rouges was first worn in 1975.
The green jersey, or maillot vert, is the sprinter’s jersey, given to the leader of the points classification.
Points are awarded to riders in the order they cross the line at stage finishes and intermediate sprints. The amount of points given depends on the type of stage – flat or mountainous – with more points being awarded for flat stages. Frequently, the same rider who has the yellow jersey also leads the points classification, resulting in the rider with the second-most general classification points being awarded the green jersey.
The white jersey, or maillot blanc, goes to the best young rider. This jersey is worn by the fastest overall rider who is under age 25 on Jan. 1 of that year’s race.
Although not quite as prestigious as one of the aforementioned jerseys. there are a few other uniform privileges that riders earn. The most combative rider of each stage – after every stage excluding time trials, a panel decides the day’s most aggressive rider – will wear a red number on a white background, instead of the usual black on white.
Special numbers for the team with the three highest-placed riders in the general classification are also awarded. Cyclists on this team wear black numbers on a yellow background.
Finally, the reigning world champions of the road race and individual time trial will wear a rainbow jersey in those respective stages of the Tour. These jerseys often consist of a white jersey with green, yellow, black, red and blue bands around it. Tom Dumoulin will wear the jersey during the individual time trial, while Alejandro Valverse will be wearing it for the road races.
Tour de France all-time records
Speaking of all those fancy jerseys, only one rider in the history of the Tour de France has been the leader in every single category. In 1969, Eddy Merckx was the King of the Mountains, won the combination classification, combativity award and points competition, and won the Tour.
Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain are tied for the most Tour de France victories all time with five each. Merckx has spent the most days in a yellow jersey (97).
Merckx also holds the most stage wins in a single Tour with eight, something he accomplished twice, in 1970 and 1974. Charles Pelissier (1930) and Freddy Maertens (1976) join Merckx in this distinction.
The greatest margin of victory is 28 minutes, 17 seconds, accomplished by Fausto Coppi in 1952. The smallest margin is eight seconds, when Greg LeMond beat Laurent Fignon in 1989.
Firmin Lambot is the oldest winner of the Tour de France, taking the title at 36 years, four months and nine days of age in 1922. Henri Cornet is the youngest champion (19 years, 11 months, 20 days in 1904).