Tour de France Guide

Le Tour de France

Le Tour header

A stage race

The Tour de France is the most prestigious stage race in the world. Broken down into 21 stages, it attracts the best riders in the world. Depending on their individual speciality (flat, sprint, mountain, etc.) they will vie for stage wins and the honour of wearing distinctive jerseys.

The distinctive jerseys

There are 4 distinctive jerseys:

The stages

The Tour de France is broken down into 21 stages of varying profiles. There are 3 main stage types:

The teams

22 teams made up of 8 riders compete in the Tour de France. These teams are part of the world's cycling elite. The riders selected by the sports director to take part in the race are generally the best riders in the team.

The riders

Riders can be classified according to their strong points:

The status

There is usually a clear hierarchy between riders in a team: leader and team-mates.

Status can evolve from stage to stage: a sprinter could be a leader on a flat stage, but he could be a simple teammate on a mountain stage because he has no chance of winning. In the same way, a rider who is well placed in the overall rankings could become leader.

A winner


It's true that a rider must be on form if he wants to win the Tour, or a stage, but it is not always the strongest who comes out on top. He must adapt his strategy as the race evolves, and he must be able to manage moments of both strength and weakness. To make their mark on a Tour, the great champions have always displayed cunning and intelligence, above and beyond their physical prowess, in order to foil the plans of their rivals.