Le maillot est le trophée: The history of the Tour de France yellow jersey and a look at today's iteration

See what's printed inside the yellow jersey of this year's Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes

The 2022 Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift yellow jersey made by Santini
(Image credit: )

Nowadays, the yellow jersey is a symbol of cycling. More recognizable even than the rainbow stripes that signify a world champion. Yet in the early days of the Tour de France, there was no such thing as a yellow jersey. From the Tour’s inception in 1903 until 1919, only a simple green armband was used to help fans and journalists identify the race leader.   

The story goes that the 1919 Tour was already two-thirds of the way through when the race director, Henri Desgrange, recognized that there needed to be a clearer identifier of the race leader. A jersey seemed like the most obvious option and he chose yellow in honor of  L’Auto-Vélo, the newspaper that sponsored the race and was printed on yellow paper. 

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Anne-Marije Rook
North American Editor

Cycling Weekly's North American Editor, Anne-Marije Rook is old school. She holds a degree in journalism and started out as a newspaper reporter — in print! She can even be seen bringing a pen and notepad to the press conference.

Originally from The Netherlands, she grew up a bike commuter and didn't find bike racing until her early twenties when living in Seattle, Washington. Strengthened by the many miles spent darting around Seattle's hilly streets on a steel single speed, Rook's progression in the sport was a quick one. As she competed at the elite level, her journalism career followed, and soon she became a full-time cycling journalist. She's now been a cycling journalist for 11 years.