Speak like a Tour de France rider!

  • Tour de France

    Tour de France

    © AFP PHOTO/JOEL SAGET

Speak like a Tour de France rider!

The language of the pack offers a wide range of mysterious expressions. Are you ready for a crash course?

Time-trial stages

There are three different time-trial stages during the Tour:

  • An individual time-trial starting from the first stage
  • An individual or team time-trial
  • Finally, the mountain time trial, more rarely programmed during the Tour

Mountain stage

An important part of the Tour, the mountain stage is the most dreaded of the racers.

Plain (flat) stage

Also known as the transition stage, this part of the race is where the racers make a constant and prolonged effort on flat terrain. Here, the racers are called wheelers.

The Red Lantern

The red lantern is the name for the competitor who finishes in last place. This term refers to the red tail lights on the back of cars

The Red Pennant

In every stage of the course, there is a red triangular pennant, which hangs to indicate the last kilometer in the race.

The Broom Wagon

The broom wagon in a vehicle that picks up the riders that cannot continue along the course. If preferred, they can be picked up by the own team’s car. The riders are expected to finish the race within 10-12% of the winner’s time or risk being disqualified from the Tour.

French expressions cannot be translated. Some of them have even made their mark in the world of cycling and along the roads of France during le Tour de France.

Le Peloton

It means ‘pack’ or ‘group’, and it’s used to describe the main bunch of cyclists, as opposed to breakaway riders or those who have fallen off the back of the main group.

Le parcours: the route

Une étape: a stage

The Tour is what’s known as a ‘stage race’; it’s a three-week race, with the route broken down into stages. There is one stage every day except on the two rest days

la course: the race 

la tête de course: the stage leader.

This is the person (or group of riders) who’s leading the day’s stage, as opposed to the person leading the overall Tour (that’s whoever’s wearing the Yellow Jersey) 

Un échappé: a breakaway rider.

A rider who has ridden clear of the peloton, usually in an attempt to win the stage