As the name suggests, the team classification in Tour de France is an award given to the best team in the race. Having been around since the 1930, this award has been one that has been sought after by every team participating.
Unlike the other classifications, there are no colored jerseys to signify this win, but the numbers on the jerseys of the riders of the winning team will be against a yellow background for recognition.
As can be expected, the team classification is not taken as importantly as the individual general classification, and is the least of a team’s priority going into a Grand Tour race. The only time when teams put effort into winning this classification is when minimal effort is required to do so.
At the end of the day, this classification isn’t all that pointless either. Teams that are able to snag this award stand a better chance of qualifying for the next Tour de France.
History Of The Team Classification
Back then when Tour de France was still new, no ‘teams’ were enrolled in the race. Every rider participated as individuals as the tour organizer wanted the race to be a showcase of individual ability. Of course, sponsors were allowed, but that was pretty much a “team’s” involvement in the sport.
As years passed, Henri Desgrange, the tour organizer changed his mind and decided that it was time to allow teams to be formed. At that time, individual rider ability was still priority, so all riders were grouped in countries.
Since then, an award for the best team was created and was known as the Challenge International. In this team classification, the winning team was determined by summing up the best times of three of every participating team’s riders.
The system slowly evolved throughout the years with minor changes, and in 1961 the whole calculation system was changed. The ‘points’ system was introduced, where teams received points for the best team time in each stage.
The team with the highest points at the end of the race wins. The time system was used only in 1961 and in 1962.
In 1970, the points system was reintroduced again in a different way, although with a similar concept. The same concept has been around ever since. In 2012, the winning team was given the right to wear yellow helmets, should they wish to do so.
Calculations of the Team Classification Scores
The team classification is determined by summing up the best times of three riders of a similar team. When doing so, times of each stage is taken into consideration.
When it comes to the team time trial, the time last rider to finish is taken. Before we forget to mention, teams need to have a minimum of three riders to qualify for this classification.
Recent Winners Of The Team Classification
- 2017: Team Sky
- 2016: Team Movistar
- 2015: Team Movistar
- 2014: Ag2r-La – Mondiale
- 2013: Saxo – Tinkoff
- 2012: RadioShack – Nissan
- 2011: Garmin – Cervelo