Many of us watch the Tour de France each year without fully understanding the rule; what do the coloured jerseys mean? How do the time-trials work? What’s with the team classifications? We’re here to answer all your Tour Questions!

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.

The Stakes

In the pack of 198 riders, there are many different objectives, depending on the temperament, qualities and missions of each rider. The most collective of individual sports involves the majority of them in multi-layered strategies. The distinctive jerseys and other goals to be achieved during the 3 weeks of racing are listed below.

Stage victories

The 21 stages of Le Tour 2013 are divided up as follows: 7 flat stages, 5 hilly stages, 6 mountain stages with 4 high-altitude finishes, 2 individual time-trial stages and 1 team time-trial stage.

Prize money: € 22,500 per stage (€ 475,000 in total) and € 25,000 for the team time-trial stage.

The stage victory has been sponsored by Powerbar.

The Yellow Jersey

It is worn by the leader of the general individual time classification.

Prize money: € 450,000 for the overall winner (€ 1,009,000 in total).

The Yellow Jersey has been sponsored by LCL since 1987.

The Green Jersey

It is worn by the leader of the points classification. The points are won on the intermediate sprints and at the stage.

Prize money: € 25,000 for the overall winner (€ 125,000 in total).

The Green Jersey has been sponsored by PMU since 1992.

The Red Polka Dot Jersey

It is worn by the best climber. Points for the best climber classification are awarded at the top of any classified slope. The prize money is doubled on the four stage finishes that will take place at the summit of climbs.

Prize money: € 25,000 for the overall winner (€ 110,000 in total).

The Polka Dot Jersey has been sponsored by Carrefour.

The White Jersey

It is worn by the best young rider aged 25 years old or less in the general individual time classification.

Prize money: € 20,000 for the overall winner (€ 66,500 in total).

The White Jersey has been sponsored by Škoda since 2004.

The Combativity Award

This distinction is awarded at the end of each stage by a jury made up of eight cycling specialists. An overall winner is designated after the last stage of Le Tour.

Prize money: € 20,000 for the overall winner (€ 54,000 in total).

The Most aggressive rider Prize has been sponsored by Brandt since 2005.

The team classification

This classification is determined by adding the times of the best three riders of each team in each stage (except for the team time-trial).

Prize money: € 50,000 for the winning team (€ 178,800 in total).

The team classification has been sponsored by Group Digital since 2010.

Team time-trial

Two years after the stage at Les Essarts in 2011, the team time-trial will be making its return to the Tour de France programme. The teams will do battle in this collective exercise on the 4th stage over a 25-km route through the streets of Nice. The time for each team will be recorded when its 5th rider to finish crosses the finishing line. This time will be used for the general team classification; however, the actual time achieved by each rider will be attributed for calculation of the individual general classification.

No bonuses

 

For the 2013 event, no time bonuses will be allocated for intermediate sprints and stage finishes. Only the real time will count.

Helmets must be worn at all times

All riders must wear a helmet for the entire duration of each stage and on each stage.

Falls in the last three kilometres

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.

Overall Winner

 

The winner of the race is the person with the overall shortest accumulated time.
Accumulated time includes deductions for winning sprints held at several sites along the route each day, as well as deductions for the first three finishers of each stage.
There are two rest days throughout the tour.

Other interesting Tour de France Facts!

 

The Tour de France is the world's largest annual sporting event

This year is the 100th Tour de France (the 100 year anniversary was in 2003, but the race missed a few years through the World Wars)

The entire race covers approximately 3,500 kms

Over 188 countries around the world broadcast the Tour de France

A worldwide television audience of 3.5billion people watch the Tour de France annually

1,200 hotel rooms are reserved each night for the teams, staff, press and tour personnel

The Tour de France attracts 12 million spectators along the route in a typical year's race

The winning prize money has increased from 20,000 francs in its first year to roughly 500,000 euros today.

Between all riders, about 42,000 drink bottles will be consumed over the race

The average rider consumes 5,900 calories per day and 123,900 calories over the course of the tour

The Tour de France is also known as Le Tour or La Grande Boucle.

There have been four cyclists who have won the tour five or more times:

Jacques Anquetil of France (1957 and 1961-1964)
Eddy Merckx of Belgium (1969-1972 and 1974)
Bernard Hinault of France (1978-1979, 1981-1982, and 1985)
Miguel Indurain of Spain (1991-1995), the first competitor to win five consecutive races

Lance Armstrong held the record for most Tour de France wins (seven) but he was stripped of those wins in 2012.

France has had more winners than any other country. (36)