The white jersey, or maillot blanc, is awarded to the rider under the age of 25 (at the start of the year) with the lowest overall time at the end of each stage of the Tour de France. At the end of the race, the rider still holding the jersey is also crowned the overall winner of the young rider classification.
Between 1968-1975 the white jersey was actually awarded to the leader of the combination classification (the best rider in the general, points and King of the Mountains classifications), but when that competition was scrapped, the young rider classification took its place.
Originally the classification was open to any neo-pro (a rider who has been a professional for less than two years), but between 1983-1987 was opened up to all first-time competitors.
Although the current rules came in to being in 1987, the jersey wasn’t awarded between 1989-1999, but returned in 2000 when Francisco Mancebo was the lucky recipient.
Stats and trivia
If a rider tops both the general and young rider classifications, he will wear the yellow jersey and the second-highest ranked rider in the young rider’s classification will don the white jersey instead. The same applies if a rider tops both the points and/or mountains classifications – he will wear the green or polka dot jerseys instead.
In 1997, the name of the competition was officially changed to the 'Souvenir Fabio Casartelli', to commemorate the rider who died during the 1995 Tour.
Only three riders have ever won both the general and young rider classifications in the same year. They were Laurent Fignon in 1983, Jan Ullrich in 1997 and Alberto Contador in 2007.
Ullrich and Andy Schleck share the honour of most white jersey successes with three wins apiece while Team Sky's Geraint Thomas had a spell as the leading young rider last year.