Grand Tour Leader’s Jerseys – Wearers

All statistics accurate as of 28/1/2017

It is fairly well established that a day in the leader’s jersey at one of the three Grand Tours – the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana – can be as valuable for a rider’s career as if they had won a stage of the same race. It’s certainly a more exclusive club. There have been 1,597 individual stage winners at the three events (plus 48 teams thanks to team time trials), but only 648 wearers of a leader’s jersey. Predictably, there is much crossover – 88.4% of riders who have worn a leader’s jersey have also won a stage, leaving 75 men who form a club of having worn a jersey but never having won a stage.

gtstats

Analysing the wearers is actually a deceptive task, however. Traditionally, the number of days a rider has been in a leader’s jersey has been the popular metric, but the use of “days” is misleading. In the second half of the 20th century, a propensity for “split stages”, where two or three stages were shoehorned into a single day, usually in the form of a team time trial and a short road stage, meant that the lead could change on the same day.

As a result, I have instead used “stages” on the basis that this is more accurate, given that the lead changes by stage, not by day. This means some commonly accepted stats have changed, usually being increased, as the move to stages increases the number of changes available. Still, this feels like a more sensible and accurate reflection of the dynamics of bicycle racing.

How many riders have led all three races?

Following logically that the oldest races have had the most leaders, the Tour de France has had 292 riders wearing its malliot jaune, whilst the Giro d’Italia has had 257, with the Vuelta a Espana bringing up the rear on 214.

number-of-leaders

However, just twenty riders have managed to collect all three during their careers. Obviously, these include Merckx, Anquetil, Contador, Nibali, Gimondi and Hinault – the only men to have won all three Grand Tours, but there are a further seven grand tour winners, then another seven who have never won, or indeed have never had a hope of winning one.

 

collectors.jpg
Some of the more recent collectors of all three jerseys

 

Given their grand tour winning prowess, it’s no surprise that these riders have a total of 1,019 stages in the leader’s jersey between them – thats 18% of the total. They are as follows:

Giro Tour Vuelta Stages Stages Stages
Eddy Merckx 1968-70, 1972-73 1969-72, 1974-75 1973 70 111 11
Bernard Hinault 1980, 1982, 1985 1978-82, 1984-86 1978, 1983 31 79 16
Jacques Anquetil 1959-61, 1964, 1967 1957, 1961-64 1963 42 52 17
Miguel Indurain 1992-93 1991-1995 1985 29 60 4
Alberto Contador 2008, 2011, 2015 2007, 2009-10 2008, 2012, 2014 36 17 26
Francesco Moser 1976-77, 1979-82, 1984-85 1975 1984 57 7 7
Alex Zulle 1998 1992, 1996 1993, 1996-97, 2000 12 4 48
Vincenzo Nibali 2010, 2013, 2016 2014 2010, 2013 19 19 20
Felice Gimondi 1967, 1969, 1976 1965 1968 23 19 4
Freddy Maertens 1977 1976 1977 6 10 21
Laurent Jalabert 1999 1995, 2000 1995-1998 8 4 24
Bradley Wiggins 2010 2012 2011 1 14 4
Rik Van Looy 1959 1965 1958-59, 1964-65 1 2 14
Cadel Evans 2002, 2010, 2014 2008, 2010-11 2009 6 8 1
Rik Van Steenbergen 1951, 1957 1952 1956 8 2 1
Raphael Geminiani 1955 1958 1955 3 4 3
Thiery Marie 1992 1986, 1990-91 1986 2 7 1
Bradley McGee 2004 2003 2005 2 3 4
David Millar 2011 2000 2001 2 3 3
Mark Cavendish 2009, 2011, 2013 2016 2010 4 1 2

 

Greatest number of days in the lead

 

GWs Archive 2003
Happier days for multiple grand tour winners.

 

It is fairly unsurprising that the riders with the greatest number of Grand Tour victories have spent the highest number of days in the lead. The top ten for all three Grand Tours is as follows:

Wearing Years Giro Tour Vuelta Total
1 Eddy Merckx [BEL] 1968-75 70 111 11 192
2 Bernard Hinault [FRA] 1978-86 31 79 16 126
3 Jacques Anquetil [FRA] 1957, 1959-64, 1957 42 52 17 111
4 Miguel Indurain [ESP] 1985, 1991-1995 29 60 4 93
5 Lance Armstrong [USA] 1999-2005 83 83
6 Alberto Contador [ESP] 2007-12, 2014-15 36 17 26 79
7 Gino Bartali [ITA] 1936-39, 1946-49 50 23 73
8 Franceso Moser [ITA] 1975-77, 1979-82, 1984-85 57 7 7 71
9 Alex Zulle [SUI] 1992-93, 1996-98, 2000 12 4 48 64
10 Alfredo Binda [ITA] 1925, 1927-29, 1931, 1933 59 59

Current Riders

Alberto Contador is the only current rider to make the top ten overall list, although Vincenzo Nibali sits in eleventh, and needs just two stages in a jersey to bump Alfredo Binda out. He sits second on the current rankings, which look set to be dominated by Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana in the future.

Wearing Years Giro Tour Vuelta Total
1 Alberto Contador [ESP] 2007-12, 2014-15 36 17 26 79
2 Vincenzo Nibali [ITA] 2010, 2013-14, 2016 19 19 20 58
3 Chris Froome [GBR] 2011, 2013, 2015-16 44 1 45
4 Alejandro Valverde [ESP] 2006, 2008-09, 2012, 2014 2 27 29
5= Thomas Voeckler [FRA] 2004, 2011 20 20
5= Nario Quintana [COL] 2014, 2016 6 14 20
7 Tom Dumoulin [NED] 2015-16 6 6 12
8= Damiano Cunego [ITA] 2004 11 11
8= Michael Matthews [AUS] 2014-15 8 3 11
10= Giovanni Visconti [ITA] 2008 8 8
10= Rinaldo Nocentini [ITA] 2009 8 8
10= Fabio Aru [ITA] 2015 1 7 8

Tour de France

1-Chris-Froome-Miguel-Indurain-Eddy-Merckx-Bernard-Hinault-yellow-jersey-2013-Tour-de-France-podium-pic-Sirotti-1.jpg

Despite winning seven Tours (quiet at the back), Lance Armstrong is “only” second on the all-time list (of course, in the official record, he has been completely excised.) Mr Merckx has benefited quite nicely from my “stages not days” rule,  which gives him 15 extra stages in the lead.

As an aside, if we look at what percentage of the race they wore yellow for (just for the Tours in which they did so), the Merckx still comes out top by some margin.

Merckx 111/157 = 70.7%
Armstrong 84/147 = 57.1%

This is especially borne out if you include all the Tour stages they ever rode in their careers.

Merckx 111/185 = 60%
Armstrong 84/260* = 32.3%

*Armstrong didn’t finish the ’93 or ’94 Tours.

But anyway, it’s the five and seven time winners club at the top, with other multiple winners piling in. Chris Froome is the only man in the current field to make it in.

Wearing Years Stages
1 Eddy Merckx [BEL] 1969-72, 1974-75 111
2 Lance Armstrong [USA] 1999-2005 83
3 Bernard Hinault [USA] 1978-82, 1984-86 79
4 Miguel Indurain [ESP] 1991-1995 60
5 Jacques Anquetil [FRA] 1957, 1961-1964 52
6 Chris Froome [GBR] 2013, 2015-16 44
7 Sylvere Maes [BEL] 1936-37, 1939 41
8 Antonin Magne [FRA] 1931, 1934 39
9 Philippe Thys [BEL] 1913-14, 1920 37
10 Nicolas Frantz [LUX] 1927-29 37

Special mention, as always, goes to Fabian Cancellara, as the man with the most stages in yellow (29) without having actually won the race overall.

Current riders

current_yellow

Following the retirement of Cancellara, Thomas Voeckler has ascended to the lofty heights of being the rider with the most days in the jersey not to have actually won it. He is also the man who has the oldest yellow tunic in his cupboard, with his 2004 yellow jersey the oldest of the 22 men still active who have taken it.

Wearing years Stages
1 Chris Froome [GBR] 2013, 2015-16 44
2 Thomas Voeckler [FRA] 2004, 2011 20
3 Vincenzo Nibali [ITA] 2014 19
4 Alberto Contador [ESP] 2007, 2009-10 17
5 Rinaldo Nocentini [ITA] 2009 8
6 Tom Boonen [BEL] 2006 4
7= Tony Martin [GER] 2015 3
7= Peter Sagan [SVK] 2016 3
7= Greg Van Avermaet [BEL] 2016 3
10= Alejandro Valverde [ESP] 2008 2
10= Sylvain Chavanel [FRA] 2010 2
10= Stefan Schumacher [GER] 2008 2
10= Marcel Kittel [GER] 2013-14 2
10= Jan Bakelandts [BEL] 2013 2
10= Simon Gerrans [AUS] 2013 2
10= Daryl Impey [RSA] 2013 2

Current riders who have had a day in the jersey are: Mark Cavendish, Philippe Gilbert, Romain Feillu, Tony Gallopin and Rohan Dennis.

 

Giro d’Italia

0acdd867501f67cd1dfef92a8e2cbf01

Again, it’s the multiple winners club for the Giro, with Merckx and Binda topping the list, although Coppi is quite far back, mainly due to poaching the jersey quite late in the races. An interesting quirk is that he and Gino Bartali only wore the jersey in the same year once, in 1947.

Francesco Moser benefits from a few years of prologue winning to boost his standing, before the Italians decided to edit the course for him in 1984, much to Laurent Fignon’s chagrin.

And Alberto Contador is the current man in the top ten, although given this analysis doesn’t take into account disqualifications (such as his 2011 race), he is benefitting from 13 days that are officially shared between Kanstantsin Sivstov, Vincenzo Nibali and eventual winner Michele Scarponi.

Wearing Years Stages
1 Eddy Merckx [BEL] 1968-70, 1972-73 70
2 Alfredo Binda [ITA] 1925, 1927-29, 1931, 1933 59
3 Francesco Moser [ITA] 1976-77, 1979-82, 1984-85 57
4 Gino Bartali [ITA] 1936-37, 1939, 1946-47 50
5 Giuseppe Saronni [ITA] 1979, 1984, 1983, 1985-86 49
6 Jacques Anquetil [FRA] 1959-61, 1964, 1967 42
7 Alberto Contador [ESP] 2008, 2011, 2015 36
8= Bernard Hinault [FRA] 1980, 1982, 1985 31
8= Fausto Coppi [ITA] 1940, 1947, 1949, 1952-54 31
10 Miguel Indurain [ESP] 1992-93 29

Current riders

 

girocurrent.jpg
This includes a picture of Davide Rebellin in his ’96 Polti kit, as despite holding the pink jersey for a few days in that year, no images seem to exist of it.

 

There are 31, 30 or 29 current riders who have worn the maglia rosa, depending on whether Matteo Tossato or Luca Paolini get late contracts. This is substantially more than the Tour’s 22, perhaps reflecting the greater lock down teams have on the jersey in France, whilst the Giro has always lent itself to a more flowing race leadership.

Three of the four men still riding who have won the race, with the exceptions of Michele Scarponi, a man in the unique position of being an official winner but never having won the jersey, head up the current rider standings, and Nairo Quintana.

Contador, as above, leads overall thanks to the inclusion of 2011, although the 2015 Giro is the only race where he has ever lost the lead of a Grand Tour, albeit only for a day, when Fabio Aru relieved him of it before the time trial.

Wearing Years Stages
1 Alberto Contador [ESP] 2008, 2011, 2015 36
2 Vincenzo Nibali [ITA] 2010, 2013, 2016 19
3 Damiano Cunego [ITA] 2004 11
4= Giovanni Visconti [ITA] 2008 8
4= Michael Matthews [AUS] 2014-15 8
6= Davide Rebellin [ITA] 1996 6
6= Nairo Quintana [COL] 2014 6
6= Tom Dumoulin [NED] 2016 6
9= David Arroyo [ESP] 2010 5
9= Steven Kruijswijk [NED] 2016 5

Other current maglia rosa wearers are: Mark Cavendish, Pieter Weening, Luca Paolini, Rigoberto Uran, Matteo Tossato, Richie Porte, Taylor Phinney, Bob Jungels, Stefan Schumacher, Ramunas Navadauskas, Gianlucca Brambilla, Marcel Kittel, Simon Gerrans,  Fabio Aru, Esteban Chaves, Adriano Malori, Salvatore Puccio, Benat Intxausti, Svein Tuft, Simon Clarke and Andrey Amador.

Vuelta a Espana

vueltawinners

A younger race, having held 71 editions, the Vuelta top ten is dominated by those who were around in its earliest concoctions, as well as by its multiple winners. Of course, it’s still a bit up in the air whether Roberto Heras has won three or four times, but he still sits behind Zulle, who only won twice, but spent great chunks of 1993 and 2000 in the lead thanks to his time trialling skills.

You wouldn’t bet against a current rider making their way into the top half of the table, especially and Contador and Valverde are a week in red off of the podium. If Chris Froome ever wins the race, and performs his usual two-week lockout, he could quite easily ascend into the top ten as well.

Wearing Years Stages
1 Alex Zulle [SUI] 1993, 1996-97, 2000 48
2 Roberto Heras [ESP] 2000, 2002-05 36
3= Tony Rominger [SUI] 1992-94 32
3= Gustaaf Deloor [ESP] 1935-36 32
3= Delio Rodriguez [ESP] 1941, 1945-47 32
6 Julian Berrendero [ESP] 1941-42, 1945, 1948 30
7 Domingo Perurena [ESP] 1967, 1970-72, 1974-75 29
8 Alejandro Valverde [ESP] 2006, 2008-09, 2012, 2014 27
9 Alberto Contador [ESP] 2008, 2012, 2014 26
10 Laurent Jalabert [FRA] 1995-98 24


Current Riders

vueltacurrent.jpg

With Chris Horner still telling anyone who will listen that he will win the biggest races in the world as he tries to get a team, it’s unsure whether there are 30 or 31 current riders left who have held the red, or indeed gold, as it was, jersey, at the Vuelta. Alejandro Valverde and Alberto Contador are the only men left to have won a golden fleece, with everyone after Nibali picking up the new red jersey.

Alejandro Valverde’s longevity means that he pips the three-time champion Contador to the summit, mainly because Contador failed to wear the jersey in 2016 – the only time he has entered the Vuelta and failed to win, let alone win a stage.

Wearing Years Stages
1 Alejandro Valverde [ESP] 2006, 2008-09, 2012, 2014 27
2 Alberto Contador [ESP] 2008, 2012, 2014 26
3 Vincenzo Nibali [ITA] 2010, 2013 20
4 Nairo Quintana [COL] 2014, 2016 14
5 Fabio Aru [ITA] 2015 7
6 Tom Dumoulin [NED] 2015 6
7= Sylvain Chavanel [FRA] 2008, 2011 5
7= Philippe Gilbert [BEL] 2010 5
7= Igor Anton [ESP] 2010 5
9= Daniele Bennati [ITA] 2007-08, 2011 4
9= Darwin Atapuma [COL] 2016 4

 

Other riders who have worn red (and indeed gold) are: Michael Matthews, Esteban Chaves, Janez Brajkovic, Jonathan Castroviejo, Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, Chris Froome, Stijn Devolder, Filippo Pozzato, Alessandro Ballan, Jakob Fuglsang, Bauke Mollema, Nicholas Roche, Daniel Moreno, Peter Velits, Peter Kennaugh, Michal Kwiatkowski, Ruben Fernandez and David de la Cruz.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s