What is the Green Jersey in Cycling? (or the Tour de France)

What is the Green Jersey in Cycling? (or the Tour de France)
Jasper Philipsen in the green points classification jersey - Stage 21 - Tour de France 2023

The green jersey is used by both the Tour de France and La Vuelta grand tours to denote the rider who is currently in the lead of the points classifications. The other major grand tour, the Giro d'Italia, uses a red jersey, the Maglia Ciclamino to denote the current points classification leader.

The green jersey is often used by other smaller stage races throughout the year to denote the current points classification contender but there's no standard across the board and each race is open to choosing the color of jersey that works best for that race.

As like all classification jerseys (eg. white, yellow, polka dot) the winner gets to keep the jersey and corresponding kit that goes with it for the rest of their careers. So simply holding it for one day is a goal of many professional cyclists.

Points in the classification are awarded on intermediate sprints scattered throughout stages, and for final positions at the finish line. More points are generally awarded on flat stages (stages with little hill definition to speak of). This is done to ensure the green jersey does not "accidentally" fall into the hands of a general classification (GC) contender as they so often win numerous mountain stages.

In the past given how GC contenders need to win stages for both bonus seconds and battle their contenders on hilly finishes you often had the GC leader holding two jerseys (the leaders jersey and the points classification jersey). This in effect defeated the purpose of the points classification and hence why more points are now awarded on flat stages to benefit sprinters and rouleurs.

The green jersey shade changed colors at the Tour de France in 2023 which caused a minor uproar. But we definitely felt the new color had grown on us by the end of the Tour.

Mark Cavendish wearing the old shade of green jersey - 2021