Tour de France combativity award: how does it work?

The Tour de France has many prizes available, but it isn't all about the yellow, green, polka-dot and white jerseys. A red number is up for grabs as well

Ide Schelling take the red number as well as the polka dot jersey after stage one of the Tour de France 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Tour de France has many prizes available, but it isn't all about the yellow, green, polka-dot and white jerseys. A red number is up for grabs as well.

Every day a rider will be awarded with the 'most combative rider' award that usually goes to the rider who was the last man to be caught from the early breakaway or to a rider who has put in a top performance on that particular stage

The official rules say the prize rewards "the rider who gives the biggest effort and shows the best sportsmanship."

But who decides which rider takes this award and a quick trip to the podium for a framed red number and a cuddly toy?

>>> Tour de France 2021 route: Details of all the stages in the 108th edition

The award was first introduced to the race for the 1952 edition and has since been shaped into the classification it is today.

The daily prize is awarded by a jury chaired by the race director, though in recent years has also been voted for online by fans, who are able to choose between certain riders that have animated the stage. That rider is then given a red number to where on the following stage to show he was the most combative from the previous day.

You are often more likely to get the prize if you are French.

A super-combativity prize is also awarded to a rider at the end of the Tour de France, which is selected solely by the race jury. The 2020 prize was won by the amazing attacker, Marc Hirschi (then Team Sunweb) after he battled in the breaks taking a stage and narrowly missing out on polka-dots.

The super-combativity award is sometimes picked on the penultimate stage but usually on the final day into Paris, with the lucky the rider receivinge €20,000 for his troubles.

Combativity award Tour de France 2021: Winners so far

Stage one - Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
Stage two - Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
Stage three - Michael Schär (Sui) Ag2r-Citroën Team
Stage four - Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto-Soudal

This page will be updated as the race progresses

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.