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2023 Tour de France Jerseys: What do the yellow, green, white and polka dot jerseys mean?

Sam Bewley and Brent Bookwater preview next month's 2023 Tour de France and highlight the cyclists to watch in this year's competition.

The world’s greatest cyclists have their sights set on the Tour de France 2023 — and with the infamous event less than one month away, not much time remains until we see the best riders compete to obtain the yellow, green, polka-dot and white jerseys. But what do these highly coveted jerseys mean to the cyclists fighting for them?

The famed Tour de France is making its way to NBC and Peacock in just a few weeks, taking place Saturday, July 1 through Sunday, July 23. See below to learn what the Tour de France jerseys mean and how a rider earns one.

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What is the meaning of the yellow jersey?

Nearly every professional cyclist dreams of someday donning the Tour de France’s yellow jersey, also known as the maillot jaune.

This piece of clothing that stands above all else is awarded to the overall classification leader at the conclusion of each stage, with the fastest rider from the day before given the right to wear the jersey for the following day of racing. It’s important to remember, however, that the winner of this jersey is based on time rather than points, so the winner of the stage is not always the cyclist who gets to bear the yellow jersey.

When the race is completed, the overall champion of the Champs-Élysées receives the fabled yellow jersey. Last year’s winner of the maillot jaune was Team Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard, who remains a favorite for this year’s Tour.

RELATED: Relive Jonas Vingegaard’s 2022 Tour de France victory

What is the meaning of the green jersey?

The green jersey, also known as the maillot vert, is awarded to each day’s leader in points classification. These points are distributed among riders at stage finishes and intermediate sprints in line stages.

The number of points available for each stage varies depending on the stage’s profile. For example, a flat stage finish is typically worth more points than a hilly or mountainous stage finish. The jersey is typically dubbed “the sprinter’s jersey”, and is seen as a symbol of passion and explosivity from the riders who wear it.

Belgian star Wout van Aert earned the maillot vert in fiery fashion last year, picking up 480 points throughout the Tour de France. The closest any rider came to matching this number was Jasper Philipsen, who earned 286.

What is the meaning of the polka-dot jersey?

The Tour de France’s polka-dot covered jersey (maillot à pois rouges) is awarded to the “King of the Mountains”, the rider who leads the pack in Mountains Classification.

Points are distributed to riders who reach the summit first in designated climbs of each stage. These, points, however, can vary depending on the difficulty of the climb. These climbs are ranked in categories 1 through 4, with 1 being the most difficult and 4 being the least. If a climb is ranked as “hors catégorie”, it means that this is a climb “beyond category”, reserved for the most challenging endeavors. Points are then awarded based on the category of the climb.

A rider who earns the maillot à pois rouges symbolizes one who pushes beyond their limits with a great deal of courage. In addition to claiming the yellow jersey in 2022, Jonas Vingegaard also claimed last year’s polka-dot jersey, being crowned “King of the Mountains”.

RELATED: Click here for all NBC Sports cycling coverage

What is the meaning of the white jersey?

The white jersey (maillot blanc) is one of promise and hope for the future. While the jersey first surfaced on the Tour in 1968 to reward the leader of combined classification, its meaning transformed in 1975 to a recognition of cycling’s young achievers.

Today, the white jersey remains as a symbol of youthful talent, being awarded to the best placed cyclist in overall standings under the age of 26. Slovenia’s Tadej Pogacar earned rights to the maillot blanc in last year’s Tour de France at 23 years old.

When is the 2023 Tour de France?

The 2023 Tour de France will take place from July 1-23. The riders will embark on the first stage in Bilbao on Saturday, July 1.

How can I watch the 2023 Tour de France?

Coverage will air on NBC Sports and Peacock from start to finish.

Be sure to follow OlympicTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates on the 2023 Tour de France!