14 Tour de France rules you probably didn't know

The world's biggest bike race has a comprehensive set of rules - here are some regulations that may not be commonly known

Tour de France rules
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Tour de France is cycling’s most prestigious race, but even so there are probably some rules and regulations governing the running of the event and the conduct of the riders, teams and staff which you probably haven’t heard of. 

From glass containers to race numbers, here are a selection of rules you may not know: 

1. Glass containers

Under article 6b of the regulations, carrying using glass containers is strictly prohibited. 

2. Waterproofs

Article 5 states that the wearing of leader waterproofs other than those provided by the race organisers is forbidden. 

3. TVs in team cars

Teams have to ensure no accredited vehicle belonging to them has a television in front of their vehicle, under article 9. 

4. Assault

Competitors who commit assault, utter insults, threaten or wilfully cause delays or demonstrations will be penalised - Article 9.

5. Level crossings

If a group of riders gets split into two as the result of a level crossing closing, the first part of the group will be slowed down or stopped to allow the riders that have been delayed to regain their place in said group - Article 19.

There's a comprehensive set of rules regarding behaviour around level crossings

There's a comprehensive set of rules regarding behaviour around level crossings
(Image credit: Watson)

6. Glasses at official proceedings

Official proceedings at the start and finish of races dictates that, out of respect for the public, the wearing of glasses (and sunglasses) - other than prescription ones - simply isn’t allowed.

7. Ties

In the event of a tie in the general ranking, the number of stage victories are added up for each rider, followed by the number of intermediate sprint victories; if there is still no clear winner, the individual time ranking is used - Article 24.

8. Race numbers

Article 2 states it is strictly forbidden to make changes to official items, such as bibs or numbers plates. 

9. Spraying from team car

Any spraying of competitors from a team vehicle is strictly forbidden - Article 6b.

10. Indecent appearance

Under article 28.2, ASO may exclude from the event any team or any of its members in the event of customs fraud or indecent appearance. 

11. Gambling

In order to avoid any risk of a conflict of interest, the teams and each of their members (riders, supervisory staff, trainers, doctors, etc.) are obliged not to personally take part in sports betting ventures concerning the Tour de France, either directly or through an intermediary - Article 30.

Tour de France. Photo by Alex Broadway/ASO
(Image credit: ASO/Alex Broadway)

12. Retirement

Any notably unjustified retirement may lead to the withdrawal of all prizes won since the start of the race - Article 8.

13. Refusing to take part in official proceedings

Under article 21, any prize-winner who refuses to take part in the official proceedings at the start and the finish in his race outfit will be penalised. 

14. Splits in the bunch

All riders in a given bunch shall be credited with the same time when they cross the finishing line. A split occurs when the gap of over 1 second is noted between two riders. Timekeeper–commissaires shall give a new time. However, in stages expected to finish in bunch sprints, the time gap required for a split shall be 3 seconds - Article 14. 

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