Thomson Tales

100 Years of Yellow — Le Tour celebrates the Maillot Jaune


This year marks the 100th anniversary of the famous Maillot Jaune, the leaders jersey of the greatest race on earth. By the end of July we won’t have our 100th winner, the race is much older than the jersey, but we will celebrate what has become the standout prize of world sport.

Throughout the history of sport, winners are pictured holding aloft the prize of their spoils. Trophies of all sizes and shapes hoisted into the air on podia or pitch sides from football to tennis. Athletes proudly decked in gold and ribbon, elated and revered. All these moments are captured when the sport is done, over and completed. It’s only cycling where the trophy can visibly change hands during the event, can be shown off in the pursuit of victory and not just the attainment. Toil, heartache, triumph can all be captured whilst wearing the leader’s jersey. Le Maillot Jaune. The yellow jersey. The most famous and recognisable prize in all of sport.

Leaders in Yellow

In 1919 Eugène Christophe was the first recorded recipient of the honour of yellow. An honour not universally appreciated at the time. Racers worried that yellow would mark them out, making them more easily spotted by their rivals and, in Christophe’s case, mockery from the watching crowds. Animated spectators imitated canaries whenever he passed, encouraged by his nickname of Cri-Cri (from “Christophe”) which is French babytalk for a bird.

Despite the early reticence to sport the colour of organising newspaper, L’Auto, the maillot jaune has since become a most sought after treasure. Worn most by Belgian Eddy Merckx, whose 96 days in yellow are celebrated with a Grand Depart in Brussels this year. Our spectator trips will be there as usual, soaking up the European heatwave and the crescendo of excitement as the Tour begins. Between spectator and KOM cycling trips, Thomson will be at the Tour every single day this year.

Alpe d'Huez podium

Thomson at Le Tour

As Official Tour Operator to the Tour de France and one of only two operators awarded Premium status, race viewing experience with Thomson Bike Tours is second to none. We offer VIP access to stage starts and finish line tribunes as well as our famous private race viewing hospitality marquees for live action on the key climbs. Our Paris packages take you right to the Champs Elysées to enjoy the final act of the Tour de France.

This year our guests riding the trips in the Pyrenees and the Alps will take on legendary climbs like Alpe d’Huez, Galibier, Croix de Fer, Tourmalet and Aspin, the scene of many a battle for yellow. They’ll even get a taste of riding across the finish line and standing on the podium like champions gone by with exclusive access on Tourmalet and Col d’Iseran. Our spectator trips will feature team paddock access, mid race hospitality, opportunities to meet the riders in the departure village and incredible race viewing.

2018 Tour de France Spectator Tours



Why not follow our adventures in this years Tour on our Blog, Instagram and Facebook. Get an insight into just what our guests experience and the memories we create, whether riding or spectating. If you join in with our #thomsoninyellow hashtag you can even win yourself a trip to join us on the 2020 trip. Share your best yellow cycling images with the hashtag #thomsoninyellow, tagging Thomson to play along. The best ones will be reshared on the Thomson account and overall winners drawn at the end of the Tour. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook and sign up to our newsletter for full details.


Jacinta. To the right of the Lion