Regulations gather a set of rules governing a competition. Rules must be well balanced and subtle in order provide a fair race, to motivate the riders and to help the spectators and viewers understand the competition. You will find the outlines of the regulations below.
Download the rules(pdf, 16 pages, 633 ko)
The leaders of a team and his team mates racing on the Tour de France try to excel, individually or by the support they provide to their team. According to the stage profiles, the evolution of the general standings or some unexpected circumstance during the race, each rider adapts his objectives to the situation. The winners of the various prizes eventually share the honours and the money at stake with their team mates. Enough to make (almost!) everybody happy.
The 21 stages of the 2009 Tour de France are divided up as follows: 10 flat stages, 7 mountain stages, 1 medium mountain stage, 2 individual time-trial stages et 1 team time-trial stage.
Prize money: €8,000 for each stage victory, €10,000 for the team time-trial stage (€475,000 in total).
It rewards the leader of the general classification, calculated by adding together the times achieved on each stage. It is of course the Yellow Jersey that is most coveted.
Prize money: €450,000 for the winner of the final classification
It identifies the leader in the classification on points. The points in question are awarded according to the passing order on the intermediate sprints and at the finish line. It is the sprint specialists who generally vie for this jersey.
Prize money: €25,000 for the winner of the classification on points.
It goes to the best climber. The points counting towards the mountain classification are awarded on the basis of the passing order at the top of the hills or mountain passes.
Prize money: €25,000 for the winner of the “mountain classification”.
It is given to the best young rider on Le Tour. Only riders aged 25 or under compete for this jersey.
Prize money: € 20,000 for the best young rider.
This prize is awarded at the end of each stage by a jury comprising eight specialists in cycling. A “super-combativity” prize is also awarded at the end of the last stage of the Tour.
Prize money: €20,000 for the “super combativity” award.
This classification is determined by adding the times of the best three riders of each squad in each stage.
Prize money: €50,000 for the winning team.
Since the 2004 edition of the Tour de France, the competition for the Polka Dot Jersey includes a detail adding some spice to the race: for the final climb on a stage’s profile, the points are doubled for Category 1, Category 2 and Top Category climbs. So the riders present at the top of this classification are undoubtedly the most courageous ones and the prize goes to those who remain on top of the classification for the longest period of time.
All riders must wear a helmet during the whole duration of the stage, and in each stage.
Since 2005, it has been decided that the riders involved in a fall in the last three kilometres of the stage would be given the same finish time as the group they belonged to. This rule does not apply to time-trial stages and those stages finishing at the top of a climb.
On the heights of Monaco, the riders of the Tour de France will compete on a prestigious first stage: a 15.5 km-long route has been designed for the inaugural time-trial stage of July 4. As stated in the international cycling regulations, this is not a prologue since the name “prologue” only applies to routes under 8 km. Consequently, a rider who would fail to reach the finish line of the stage because of a fall would be disqualified.
The riders reach the most impressive average speeds when they ride in groups. In the latest team time-trial stage organised between Tours and Blois in 2005, the Discovery Channel riders set a record: 57.32 km/h on a 67.5 km-long stage. Team time-trials are back on the Tour de France this year during the Montpellier stage. For the occasion, the rules have undergone a major change: the time recorded for a team will be the time of the fifth rider. For those riders who are left behind during the team time-trial stage, their own time (real time) will be applied and taken into account for the individual general standings. The organisers have decided to go for a relatively short stage (39 km) around Montpellier to limit the consequences of the cancellation of this “comprehensive insurance”.