The world’s premier cycling event, the Tour de France, has been entertaining racing enthusiasts since 1903. In the early years of the race, the cyclist with the overall best time wore a green arm band. However, as the number of competitors grew, it became increasingly hard for spectators and journalists to spot the leader among all of the racers. In 1919 the founder of the tour, Henri Desgrange, came up with a clever idea, he made the stage leader wear a bright yellow jersey. Desgrange knew this would accomplish two goals – it would make the lead rider highly visible and it would help promote L’Auto, the newspaper that sponsored the Tour de France. During that time L'Auto was known for the yellow-coloured paper that it was printed on. It was an early example of cross-marketing.
The yellow jersey, or as the French say – the Maillot Jaune, was an instant success. They've since added a green jersey for best sprinter, a white jersey for best young rider and a polka dot jersey for best hill climber. Belgium’s Eddy “The Cannibal” Merckx, who won the Tour de France five times between 1969 and 1974, holds the record for wearing the yellow jersey more than any other rider in the history of the race.