Le maillot jaune et les autres.

Le maillot jaune et les autres.

luh mah-yo ZHO nay lay ZO-truh. Click below to hear this pronounced!  

The yellow jersey and the other ones.

As you probably know by now, le Tour de France 2010 is over. Alberto Contador, from Spain, owns this year’s maillot jaune, the coveted yellow jersey. ¡Felicidades, Alberto! (That’s “congratulations” in Spanish.)

But if you don’t follow le Tour de France, perhaps you didn’t know that are other maillots as well. Un maillot is a knitted shirt; une maille (ewn MAH-yuh) is a stitch in knitting, or mesh (which is nothing more than a whole bunch of mailles).

In 2010, le maillot blanc (the white jersey), for le meilleur jeune (the best young rider), went to Andy Schleck. He was also the runner-up of the entire race.

Alessandro Petacchi of Italy took le maillot vert, the green jersey, which goes to le meilleur sprinteur, the best sprinter.

But wait, there’s more! Here comes my favorite. Yes, Virginia, there really is a polka-dot jersey! That’s le maillot à pois, which sounds as if he had spilled peas on it, because les petits pois are peas but les pois are polka dots, so if the polka dots are small you have to call them des pois petits instead of des petits pois, even though the adjective petit normally comes before the noun, not after it. And anyway, these pois are not petits at all, they are rather gros (fat) and they are bright red, so there’s no chance in the world of mistaking them for spilled peas.

France was not without glory in this Tour, since Frenchman Anthony Charteau won le maillot à pois, which goes to the best climber, or le meilleur grimpeur (luh may-yuhr graa-PUHR). Have you seen the mountain roads they traverse on this race? Félicitations à tous!

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2 responses to “Le maillot jaune et les autres.

  1. Bonjour, Ruth. Not sure if the spelling is correct, but there’s also an “unofficial” award called the lanterne rouge. Being the red lantern at the end of a train, it’s given to the rider who finishes the whole tour, but comes does so in last place. No jersey, but a lot in notoriety, at least to the rest of the riders and other insiders.
    — Brad.

  2. Merci, Brad! I had no idea. I didn’t run across that when I was researching the maillots! The guy who gets that award must feel about an inch high, but at least he finished a grueling race! There’s a lot of grace in that.

    And your spelling is impeccable, by the way!

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