Basics - Stages
There are 3 types of terrain:
They pose no major problem to the riders. They usually finish in a sprint, because the absence of any difficulties means that it is impossible to disrupt the peloton, which reels in any breakaway riders before the end of the stage. These are key stages for the green jersey.
These consist of a succession of rises and short climbs spread along the length of the stage. These stages are wide open because breakaways have more chance of going all the way. They also favour punchers and climbers.
The most prestigious stages that only climbers can hope to win, unless a breakaway manages to hold them off. It is on these stages that riders who aim for the overall rankings try to create leads on their rivals. They are also vital for any riders aiming for the polka-dot jersey.
Independent of the terrain, there are also races with cobblestone sectors, which are most often encountered on the flat. Cobblestones require significant agility as well as a solid physique, if a rider is to loose as little time as possible.
The various sectors are displayed in grey on the stage profile.
In PCM, 4 colours are used to categorize stages with cobbled sectors: green (easy), yellow (normal), orange (difficult) and red (very difficult). For example, Paris-Roubaix is categorized "red" with more than 50km of cobblestone sectors, of which some are in a bad state of repair.