By Andrew Hood
There’s a lot more to the Tour de France than meets the eye, especiallywhen it comes to behind-the-scenes rules and regulations. Here are somehighlights of some of the rules and regulations taken from 32-page handbookoutlining the Le Reglement or regulations, of the 89th Tour de France.The stakes
There are $2.6 million awarded in prize-money during the Tour paidin euros, Europe’s new common currency. Prize-money is awarded each dayto winners, to the leaders of each respective jersey and for other special“primes” or bonuses along the course. The Tour winner receives $335,390while last place receives $381.A stage-winner earns $3810 down to $67 for 25th place each day.Winners of the climber’s and points jerseys each receive $22,867.The rules
Racers must start and finish each stage to be allowed to continue inthe race. Any racer that quits or abandons the Tour is out of the overallstandings, called the “general classification,” or GC.Racers cannot be replaced by their teams once they abandon or rejointhe race. The overall race leader is determined after each stage by theracer with the least amount of cumulative time to that point of the race.Time bonuses of 20, 12 and 8 seconds are awarded to the top-three finishersof each stage (except time trials). Time bonuses of 6, 4 and 2 secondsare also awarded at intermediate or “hot sprints” in each stage. Time bonusesare subtracted from the time in the GC. Racers must finish with a certaintime percentage within the stage-winner.Determining this percentage is based on a complicated formula basedon average speed and difficulty of the stage, called “elimination coefficients.”In general terms, racers must finish within 5 percent and 21 percent ofthe winner’s time or face elimination. Weather conditions, road blocksor accidents also factor in.The jerseys
Four jerseys are awarded at the end of each stage, with each jerseysignifying the leader of various categories. The race leader is awardedthe yellow jersey, or maillot jaune as it’s called in French. The yellowjersey has become synonymous with the Tour and was introduced in 1919 tohelp the race leader stand out from among the colorful peloton.The green points jersey was introduced in 1953 primarily to give somethingfor the fast-charging sprinters to shoot for. Points are awarded at intervalsprints and at the end of each stage.The polka-dot best climber’s jersey was introduced in 1933. Points areearned for the top riders over the summits and mountain passes throughoutthe race.The white best young rider’s jersey, introduced in 1975, is for thebest rider under 25 in the GC.There is also team challenge category, which does not have a specialjersey, for the team with the fastest cumulative time of its top-threeriders of each stage. The winner of the team category earns an automaticbid to the next year’s Tour. There is also a most aggressive rider classificationawarded by a panel of judges to the rider who reveals the most effort andsportsmanship.The fines
Sanctions are part of any race and the Tour de France has entire staffof race jury whose job it is to make sure the rules of the race are followed.Of course, when hundreds of bikes, cars and motorcycles are speeding downnarrow roads at 60 mph, rules need to be followed. Fines are doled outin a daily release, paid in Swiss francs. Some of these fines that willlikely pop up in the coming weeks.If a racer starts a stage without signing in, that will cost 100 SF.If a racer’s bib number is not easily in view, 100 SF the first time,200 SF the second infraction and a quick exit the third time around.Racers are fined 50 SF and given a 10-second penalty for taking an illegalpush by a team car or teammates and 20 SF if any over-avid fan gives thema push.Illegal feeds or illegal medical service also garner fines. Directeurssportifs can also be heavily fined.A popular fine is “not respecting the orders of the race jury,” a finethat starts at 30 SF and climbs with the severity of the act.Racers can be relegated, usually in field sprints, when they impedethe line of another rider.If it’s serious enough, racers can be kicked out of the race for unsportsmanlikeconduct, just as Italian Francesco Casagrande was given the heave-ho atthis year’s Giro for supposedly forcing a Colombian rider into the fences.Failed doping tests, of course, mean immediate elimination from theTour.