The Tour de France Jerseys: The Story so far

Rouleur review the status of each classification at the 2021 Tour de France over the second rest day.

Some are already engraving Tadej Pogačar’s name into the history books as the winner of the 2021 Tour de France. However, as the race exits the second rest day, there are plenty of mountains and a long individual time trial remaining.

As cliché as it may be, anything could still happen. We review the race so far in the four individual jerseys at the 2021 Tour de France.

Tour de France 2021 Guide

Yellow Jersey

Tadej PogacarImage credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Mathieu van der Poel held the yellow jersey for much of the first week after stealing it from Julian Alaphilippe on the Mûr-de-Bretagne. That seems a lifetime ago already, and entering the final week, Tadej Pogačar is in consummate control of the maillot jaune.

After Pogačar narrowly defeated Primož Roglič at the Tour de France last season, many expected a rematch between Pogačar and his compatriot. However, Roglič crashed on stage 3 and ultimately was forced to abandon prior to the first rest day. This is the first time in Roglič’s career where he has failed to win a stage at a Grand Tour.

With Roglič out of contention, Pogačar has built a commanding lead. The 22-year-old attacked on the Col de Romme — the penultimate climb on stage 8 — and in doing so put his rivals to the sword. He acquired the yellow jersey after gaining over three minutes on all the others contending for GC.

Ben O’Connor and Guilaume Martin have been presented with opportunities after gaining time via the breakaway. Both riders have been as high as second place overall, but have since fallen to fifth and ninth respectively.

Instead, it is Rigoberto Urán that leads the chasing pack behind Pogačar. The Colombian veteran is looking to match his best Tour de France finish — he was second in 2017 behind Chris Froome. However, Urán is closely followed by Jonas Vingegaard, Richard Carapaz, Wilco Kelderman and the aforementioned Ben O’Connor who are all within one minute.

Polka-Dot Jersey

Wout PoelsImage credit: A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

The battle for the polka-dot jersey has been one of the most hotly contested in years at the Tour de France. Ide Schelling fought off Anthony Perez valiantly throughout the first week. The Dutch Tour debutant was able to hold the jersey until stage 7, where alongside stage victory, Matej Mohorič’s colossal attack enabled him to gain the polka-dot jersey too.

Related – Ide Schelling's sublime Tour debut

However, the elite climbers have now risen to the fore. Nairo Quintana and Mike Woods have both held the jersey at stages throughout the second week, but Wout Poels is in possession of polka-dots exiting the second rest day. The Dutchman has 74 points to his name, but Nairo Quintana and Mike Woods are both within 10 points. 

Wout van Aert added his name into the mix when winning in Malaucène after expertly taming Mont Ventoux. Since, he has been hunting more KOM points, meaning we can look forward to a four-way showdown in the Pyrenees.

Green Jersey

Mark CavendishImage credit: A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

Julian Alaphilippe held the green jersey early on after winning the first stage of the 2021 Tour de France. However, Alaphilippe would pass green to his team-mate Mark Cavendish after the Manx Missile won his first Tour de France stage in four years in Fougères. Since, Cavendish hasn’t looked back and has gone on to win three more stages to cement his position in the lead of the green jersey. The Brit has also tied Eddy Merckx’ long standing stage record, both riders now have 34 Tour wins apiece.

Peter Sagan has won the green jersey seven times in his career but he won’t be posing a challenge this year after withdrawing from the Tour de France in the second week.

Instead, Sonny Colbrelli and Michael Matthews are Cavendish’s closest rivals. Both are much better climbers than Cavendish, which Colbrelli displayed when climbing to finish third on stage 9 to Tignes. Matthews and Colbrelli are versatile, which means unlike Cavendish, they can reach intermediate sprints located beyond difficult climbs.

This means that if Cav is to win the second green jersey of his career — ten years after his first and only green jersey — he must continue to dominate the mass sprints and remain within the time limit in the high mountains. He has been nursed expertly by his Deceuninck - Quick Step teammates throughout this process so far, but with some brutal stages in the Pyrenees approaching, nothing is guaranteed.

White Jersey

Tadej PogacarImage credit: A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

When the leader of the yellow jersey happens to be 22 years old, the white jersey becomes a bit of a procession. Pogačar leads Jonas Vingegaard by over five and a half minutes. The Slovenian is the only rider to have worn the jersey after gaining it on stage 1. The last rider to hold the white jersey for every stage of the Tour de France was Jan Ullrich in 1997.

Behind Vingegaard, David Gaudu is Pogačar’s next challenger, but he is already over 14 minutes back.

Cover image: A.S.O./Charly Lopez

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