The rules are the bible for a sporting competition. Through their balance and subtleties they must ensure equality, motivate the riders and help spectators and viewers to understand the event. Here is an outline of the main points in the rules
Download the rules(pdf, 40 pages, 904 ko)
Whether leaders of a team or merely a team-mate, the riders on the Tour de France try to excel, either individually or as a team. According to the stage profiles, changes in 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 2010 Tour de France are divided up as follows: 9 flat stages, 6 mountain stages, 4 medium altitude stages, 1 individual time-trial and 1 prologue.
Prize money: € 8,000 to the winner of each stage (€ 475,000 in total).
It is worn by the leader of the general individual time classification.
Prize money: € 450,000 for the outright winner (€ 1,000,000 in total).
It is worn by the leader of the points classification. The points can be won on intermediate sprints and at stage finishes.
Prize money: € 25,000 for the outright winner (€ 145,400 in total).
It is worn by the best climber. Points for best climber classification are awarded at the top of any classified slope.
Prize money: € 25,000 for the outright winner (€ 106,750 in total).
It is worn by the best young rider aged 25 years or less in the general individual time classification.
Prize money: € 20,000 for the outright winner (€ 66,500 in total).
This distinction is awarded at the end of each stage by a jury made up of eight cycling specialists. An outright winner is designated after the last stage of the Tour.
Prize money: € 20,000 for the outright winner (€ 56,000 in total).
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 (€ 176,000 in total).
The team classification has been sponsored by .
Since the 2004 edition of the Tour de France, the competition for the Red Polka Dot Jersey includes a detail that adds a certain amount of 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 who lead this classification are undoubtedly the most courageous ones and the prize goes to those who remain out in front in this classification for the longest period of time.
All riders must wear a helmet for the entire duration of each stage and on each stage.
As has been the case since 2005, riders involved in a fall in the last three kilometres of a stage are given the same finishing time as the group which they belonged to. This rule is not applicable in time-trial stages and stages that finish at the summit of a climb.
The last prologue that took place on the Tour de France dates back to the 2007 edition. Fabian Cancellara got his hands on that year's first Yellow Jersey by winning on a majestic route through the streets of London. Since then, the 2008 kicked off in Brittany with a flat stage between Brest and Plumelec, whilst in 2009, a 15.5 km individual time-trial was drawn up around Monaco. In Rotterdam, the distance of 8.9 km means the route falls within the regulatory definition of a prologue. As such, in the case of a fall or racing incident, riders who do not complete the day's stage escape from disqualification.