Cloak of gold: How the Tour de France's yellow jersey can transform a rider's life

Riding into yellow on day one of the Tour is one of cycling's most treasured prizes. Tom Davidson salutes Romain Bardet and speaks to others touched by the magic of the first-day maillot jaune

Romain Bardet won the first yellow jersey at the 2024 Tour De France
Romain Bardet won the first yellow jersey at the 2024 Tour De France
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Romain Bardet was always the romantics’ pick to win the first yellow jersey of this year’s Tour de France. The Frenchman had never worn yellow and had not won a stage of the Tour since 2017. Would he ever do so again?

“This might be his best chance,” Chris Marshall-Bell boldly declared in CW’s stage one preview, published in the print magazine. Only the Frenchman’s most faithful followers were willing to gamble on a 33-year-old nearing retirement, despite the odds on the DSM-Firmenich rider at the start of the day standing at 100/1. At the end of it, he stood alone on stage, beaming to the crowds gathered along the promenade in Rimini, wearing yellow for the first time. “I’ve waited my whole career for that moment,” Bardet said as he walked down the podium steps.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Tom Davidson
Senior News Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.