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

Egan Bernal on stage 21 of the Tour de France 2019 (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Tour de France has its own set of rules and regulations governing the running or the event and conduct of the riders, teams and staff. Here are a selection of rules you may not know:

1. Glass containers

Carrying or using glass containers is strictly forbidden - Article 6b

2. Waterproofs

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

3. TVs in team cars

Ensure that no accredited vehicle belonging to their team has a television in the front of the said vehicle - Article 9

>>> Tour de France 2020 route

4. Assault

Competitors who commit assault, utter insults, threaten or willfully 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

Out of respect for the public, the wearing of glasses, other than corrective glasses, and of rigid helmets is forbidden during all of the official proceedings at the start and the finish - Article 21.

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

It is strictly forbidden to make any changes to any official items (bibs or number plate) - Article 2

9. Spraying from team car

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

10. Indecent appearance

ASO may exclude from the event any team or any of its members in the event of customs fraud or indecent appearance - Article 28.2

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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

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 - Article 21

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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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Nigel Wynn
Nigel Wynn

Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on CyclingWeekly.com, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, CyclingWeekly.com would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, n exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.