Urban Eola

Traditions of the Tour de France

If you've watched the Tour de France the last couple of weeks, you'll notice that the overall leader gets a yellow jersey, a stuffed lion, and a kiss from two (usually hot) podium girls. I wondered what these traditions were all about and thought to myself how awesome they are.

Here's the stroy behind these traditions.
Yellow jersey :: "Maillot jaune" is the jersey worn by the current overall leader of many bicycle races, originally and most notably the Tour de France. It is French for "yellow jersey." It allows the rider who was in the overall lead at the end of the previous day to be easily identified during the race. The overall leader is the one with the lowest cumulative time for the race so far. The holder will normally receive three separate jerseys per day he is the leader from sponsor Nike: a podium-only jersey which zips up the back, the jersey he wears when riding and an unworn copy of the race jersey to keep.

Interesting side point :: Lance Armstrong used to mispronounce the French words "maillot jaune" to closely resemble Mellow Johnny. As a result he sometimes checked into hotels under the fake name Johnny Mellow.

Stuffed lion :: French bank Credit Lyonnais who for 25 years has sponsored the yellow jersey developed the iconic tradition of the yellow jersey-holder receiving a stuffed lion (the company's mascot) on the podium, which the riders have been known to keep as a memento or give to their children if they have any.

Podium girls :: Read this USA Today article about them - Women of the Tour deliver kisses, jerseys.

posted by Michael Tavani @ 4:40 PM |


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