With the Tour de France only just behind us, the next big race is already coming up: the Vuelta. Often referred to as the Tour of Spain, from 25th August to 16th September professional riders will be let loose on this the last Grand Tour of the year. This time, however, they’re not only dealing with temperatures that could creep above forty degrees, but also some serious mountain climbs.

In the run-up to the Vuelta we’ll be sharing some articles to get you stoked and informed for Spain’s biggest cycling spectacle. For starters, we will unfortunately not see Tom Dumoulin in the peloton this year. Two years ago he nearly won the Vuelta, but after this this year’s Giro and earning 2nd in the Tour de France, he can finally enjoy his well-deserved rest. Fortunately there are many other exciting riders competing in the various classifications. Of course, jerseys are part of the race’s classifications, but in the Tour of Spain they may be different from what you’re used to.

The red jersey

The Vuelta classification leader sports the red jersey.Whereas the leader in the Giro wears pink, and the leader of the Tour de France wears yellow, you will have to wait for the Vuelta for the red jersey. Last year, this jersey was fit firmly on the shoulders of Chris Froome from the third stage on. He ultimately won the Vuelta that year as well. The last time a Dutchman won the Vuelta was in 1979, when Joop Zoetemelk climbed the top podium step.

Chris Froome receives the red jersey. Photo Courtesy: Cor Vos

The green jersey

Just like in the Tour de France, the Vuelta points leader wears the green jersey. Though the green jersey in the Tour is often won by a real sprinter, the green jersey in the Vuelta can also be conquered by a rider who manages to finish at the front during the mountain stages. Last year this was achieved by Chris Froome. Because he was already  sporting the red jersey, the green jersey was on the shoulders of the second in that classification: the Italian Matteo Trentin. The last time a Dutchman earned the green jersey was Bauke Mollema in 2011. He also finished fourth overall in the general classification that year.

Bauke Mollema in the green jersey. Photo Courtesy: Cor Vos

White jersey with blue dots

Just like with the Tour de France, the rider who is leading the mountain classification in the Vuelta gets a polka-dot jersey. But whereas in the Tour de France the climber’s jersey is white with red dots, in the The Vuelta they’re always white with blue dots. The classifications work by giving top riders a certain number of points for each mountain, according to categorisation. If you are the first to arrive at the summit of a third-category climb, you get 3 points. For the rider who finishes first on the Top Alberto Fernandez, the highest point of the Vuelta, they earn 20 points. Last year, the honour of winning the mountains classification went to the Italian Davide Villella. Joop Zoetemelk was the last Dutch winner of this jersey, in 1971. In 2016 Robert Gesink managed to reach third in the ranking. In general, the jersey is won by attackers.

The climber’s jersey in the Vuelta. Photo Courtesey: Cor Vos

The Vuelta Combined Classification is the last jersey of the Vuelta. It’s white. Whereas the white jersey in the Tour de France is worn by the best-placed rider age under 26, in the Vuelta it’s for the rider topping the combined classification. Which means, whoever is on top after adding the points of each cyclist in the general, points and mountains classifications. It’s a prize for the rider who is at home in all disciplines of the race. Unsurprisingly, it is typically the winner of the general classification that ultimately wins the jersey. This is because the differences are often made on the climbs — the leader not only saves time but also mountain points and points for the green jersey.

The white jersey on the shoulders of Alejandro Valverde in the Vuelta of 2014. Photo: Cor Vos

In short, these are the jerseys that riders will race for in the next Vuelta. And if someone asks you why a rider in the Vuelta is rolling around with a white jersey, you can now explain it flawlessly. Chapeau!