They can define rivalries, dictate strategy and they undoubtedly add colour to the world's biggest races; the jerseys of the peloton help make cycling a team sport, and the Tour has seen some special jerseys in its storied history.
The likes of Merckx, Anquetil, Hinault and Indurain are generally all linked to a particular jersey that helped shape and define their careers and as such the uniform of a certain rider can help fans form a life-long attachment to a team or cyclist.
And as such they become more than just a garment worn by the rider to denote their team - from national squads to the advent of trade outfits right up to today's vestments that boast a dozen or more sponsor logos in the modern commercial environment - the jersey is a symbol of cycling and a source of pride.
There's cultural significance in the colours of some jerseys seen at the Tour although in many modern cases they are a representation of the sponsor's enblem, likely to change as those who provide financial backing for a team change. It's part of the ebb and flow of the professional realm of cycling.
Below we bring you some of the notable jerseys of the Tour de France peloton over the decades - there are many more we could have included, but here's a small selection of the 'classic clothes' that have adorned some of the sport's finest.
Bernard Hinault donned the Renault-Elf colours during his career (above left) and rode the 1978 Tour as French national champion, seen here talking to countryman, Peugeot's Bernhard Thevenet (above right).