Le Tour de France

Tour de France
map with regions of france

Introduction

The Tour de France started in 1903 and is the world's largest cycling race. The route covers a circuit around most of France and usually passes through one or more adjacent countries. The race is broken into stages from one town to another, each of which is an individual race in itself.
The 2014 Tour de France will run from Saturday July7 5th to Sunday July 27th over 21 stages of cycling with 2 days of rest. It will include 9 flat or Plain stages, 5 hill stages, 6 mountain stages with 5 summit finishes, and 1 individual time-trial stages with the whole race covering a maximum of 2,272 miles or 3,656 kilometers.

General Info

The Tour de France, as with most cycling races, has competitors that enter as part of a team and the race consists of 20 to 22 teams with 9 riders each. Traditionally, entry to the race is by invitation only, with invitations granted only to the best of the world's professional teams. Each team, known by the name of its sponsor, wears a distinctive jersey for advertising and riders assist one another and have access to a shared team car for assistance with various needs or maintenance. The time each rider takes to complete each stage is accumulated. Riders are often awarded time bonuses as well as a prize for finishing. Riders who finish in the same group are awarded the same time. Two riders are said to have finished in the same group if there is less than the length of a bike between them. A rider who crashes in the last three kilometers is given the time of the group with which he would have finished. The ranking of riders is by accumulated time and is known as the General Classification. The overall winner is the fastest rider with the least accumulated time after the final stage into Paris.


Classification Jerseys

There are four different jerseys awarded for various classifications including:

* The maillot jaune or yellow jersey is worn by the general classification or overall time leader and is the most prized. It is calculated by adding the accumulated time up to that point for each rider, and the rider with the lowest total time is the leader and is declared the overall winner of the Tour at the end.

* The maillot vert or green jersey is awarded for sprint points and is worn by the leader in the sprint points competition. During the race at certain places, there are areas where the first person to pass them gets a certain number of points.

* The maillot à pois rouges or polka dot (white shirt with red dots) jersey is for the King of the Mountains which is calculated by points being awarded to the first rider to cross the top of designated hills and mountains. The greatest number of points are available for the most difficult ascents.

* The maillot blanc or white jersey is for the best young rider who is less than 25 years old on January 1st during the race year.

The leaders of each of the four competitions wear a distinctive jersey the next day. When a single rider is entitled to more than one jersey, he wears the most prestigious one and the second-placed rider in the other classification wears the jersey. The jerseys are awarded in a ceremony after each stage.

~ Official Website for the Tour de France ~

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