What is the white jersey in cycling? (or Tour de France)

What is the white jersey in cycling? (or Tour de France)
White jersey holder Tadej Pogačar prior to stage twenty of the Tour de France 2023

The white jersey is used by all three of the grand tours: Tour de France, La Vuelta and Giro d'Italia to denote the rider who is currently in the lead of the young rider classifications. Unlike the other classifications (general, points, and king of the mountain) this is the sole classification where there is consensus across the three grand tours for the color of the jersey.

The classification is calculated in the same way as the general classification, with the riders times being totalled together after each stage. The lower the time the better.

Currently what constitutes a young rider, the age limit, is different between the men's and women's peloton. For men a "young" rider is 25 and under, while for women it is 23 and under.

As like all classification jerseys (eg. green, 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.

Give the advent of modern cycling, the jersey had become a bit comical on the men's side given that almost all the strongest riders were under 25 for the past few years. So the leader of the young rider classification often times had access to wear the general classification jersey as well. In that case the jersey would be worn by the second place competitor in the youth classification.

Tadej Pogačar has one more year as a twenty five and under, so we'll likely see him win it once again next year if he deems to head to the Tour de France.

On the women's side it's an important indicator of the up and coming riders of the future and a well duked out battle was fought for it between Cédrine Kerbaol and Ella Wyllie at the Tour de France Femmes 2023.

Tadej Pogačar Stage 21 - 2023