The Tour de France - the greatest spectacle on the cycling calendar and one of the biggest sporting events in the world - starts this Saturday, but what do all the jerseys and competitions mean?

As with any stage race there are several competitions running at the same time which will have difference riders competing for them thoughout the 3 week duration. Here we go through them to give you an idea of what each one is about.

General Classification

Margin of Victory: Time

Jersey Colour: Yellow (Jaune)

2016 Winner: Chris Froome

The General Classification - referred to as GC - is the main event, the one that every cyclist has dreamed of winning since the day they removed their stabilisers. Wearing the maillot jaune of race leader is as much a prestige as any in bike racing, with the exception of actually winning it.

The GC is the shortest time to complete all 21 stages cumulatively, with Chris Froome's winning time last year being 89 hours, 4 minutes and 48 seconds. Which makes it all the more impressive that the time gaps can often be mere seconds between competitors. This is the main competition that the race is all about and draws the best riders in the world such as Froome, Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde.

Points Classification

Margin of Victory: Points

Jersey Colour: Green (Verde)

2016 Winner: Peter Sagan

The Points Classification is usually awarded to the sprinters and is based on points awarded based on place-finished in stages, with minor points available for placings in the intermediate sprinters mid-way through stages. With several flat stages in each Tour de France for the sprinters to contest, there is usually a margin big enough for the leader to take into the mountain stages without worry of losing the jersey.

The points are awarded for the 1st to 15th placed finishers, with variations for the terrain of the stage. On flat stages 1st gets 50 points, 2nd 30, 3rd 20 and so on until 15th, which gets 2. On hilly.medium mountain stages the denominations are 30, 25 and 22 and on high mountain stages they're 20, 17 and 15. This classification attracts the sprinters such as Mark Cavendish, John Degenkolb and Marcel Kittel, although in recent years it's been puncheur Peter Sagan who had cleaned up the jersey with his ability to take points on mountain stages and finish consistently in the top 5.

King of the Mountains Classification

Margin of Victory: Points

Jersey Colour: Polka-Dot (a pois)

2016 Winner: Rafal Majka

The KOM Classification is a climber's jersey for the best climber in the race, once again based on points awarded based on place-finished on mountains throughout the stage. Most stages feature at least one climb of some category which means there are always points on offer to keep the competition alive.

There are several classifications of mountain, with highest categories awarding the most points at the summit. Category 4 climbs are the smallest and award just one point to the first over the top. Category 3 climbs award 3 points (1st - 2, 2nd - 1); Category 2 awards 11 points (1st - 5, 2nd - 3, 3rd - 3 etc) and Category 1 climbs offer 31 (1st - 10, 2nd - 8, 3rd - 6 etc). The Tour de France is unique in that it featurs Hors Categories climbs - or above categorisation. These monsters are usually the highest mountains in the Alps and Pyrenees and offer 25 points to the 1st over, 20 to 2nd, 16 to 3rd and so on right down to the 10th placed finish.

Young Rider Classification

Margin of Victory: Time

Jersey Colour: White (Blanc)

2016 Winner: Adam Yates

The Young Rider Classification works the same way as the General Classification, but only riedrs who are under the age if 26 compete in it. The nature of the competition means that often the young rider classification and the GC are interwined and contenders are a good shortlist of ones to watch for the future.

The winner of the classification ocassionally also wins the GC or features heavily in the fight for it, take Nairo Quintana who for the past few years has been on the Tour de France podium, and as a consequence has been leading the young rider's competition.

Team Classification

Margin of Victory: Time

Distinguishing Feature: Riders of leading team wear yellow helmets.

2016 Winners: Movistar

The Team classification works in the same way as the GC but instead of individual times, the times of the whole team are taken into consideration. The leaders wear yellow helmets as a distinguishing feature to mark them out amongst the peloton.

The classification isn't generally fought for as it is usually taken by one of the main GC teams as they look to always be putting riders at the front of the race to protect their leaders; who themselves can be so high up the GC that the time gaps make it difficult to gain on them.

Combativity Classification

Margin of Victory: kms in the breakaway

Distinguishing Feature: Leader wears a white number on a red background

2016 Winner: Peter Sagan

The prix de la combativité goes to the rider who has spent the most times on the attack in the breakaway, and is also known as the 'most aggressive rider' prize. A small prize is awarded each day but this is a minor classification that is often a consolation prize for breakaway riders.