Rules to Ride by at the Tour de France

Basically, the faster the stage goes, the longer the cutoff time. Also, the harder the stage, the longer the cutoff time. The sprinters tend to calculate the cutoff time for the mountain stages so that they just get in under the time limit.

Every once in a while the sprinters get it wrong and the whole group faces elimination. The Tour organizers have put in a codicil to the rule book allowing them to adjust the cutoff time if more than 20 percent of the starters of a particular stage may be eliminated by missing the time cut.

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Scoring the Jerseys

Points for the mountains jersey are awarded based on the difficulty of the climbs. The climbs are classified into five categories based on the height and length of the climb and the position the climb falls within the stage. A climb may be given a higher category if it occurs closer to the finish of a stage than if it falls early on in the day. Also, on the final climb of a mountain stage, the points for that climb are doubled.

Points per Category (in order of rider reaching the specific line)

  • Hors (beyond) Category - 20,18,16,14,12,10,8,7,6,5
  • Category 1 - 15,13,11,9,8,7,6,5
  • Category 2 - 10,9,8,7,6,5
  • Category 3 - 4,3,2,1
  • Category 4 - 3,2,1

Regardless of the number of points a rider accumulates, he must finish the Tour to claim the jersey.

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Points for the sprinter's jersey are awarded for five different categories of stages:

  • Flat stages: 35,30,26,24,22,20,19,18,17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
  • Medium mountain: 25,22,20,18,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
  • High mountain: 20,17,15,13,12,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
  • Time trial: 15,12,10,8,6,5,4,3,2,1
  • Intermediate sprints: 6,4,2

Again, regardless of the number of points a rider accumulates, he must finish the Tour to claim the jersey.

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The best team ranking is calculated by adding the times of a team's top three finishers for each particular stage.

Time bonuses are awarded to the top three finishers of each stage, except for the time trials. 20, 12 and eight seconds are deducted from the top three finishers. In addition to finishing bonuses, the top three finishers in the intermediate sprints have six, four and two seconds deducted from their overall time as well.

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Bruce Hildenbrand is a freelance journalist covering cycling and a host of other outdoor-related sports. He splits his time between Mountain View, California, Boulder, Colorado and Europe.

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