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How does the overall standings work?

Tour de France
by hornetstu (U13790559) 07 July 2009
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I am a complete newcomer to cycling and was wondering how the overall standings work.

It seems unfair that Mark Cavendish has won the last two stages yet he is currently 142nd in the overall standings.

If someone could explain id be grateful.


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posted Jul 7, 2009

It used to be that the intermediate sprints (those preset points along the stage)carried time bonuses of 6seconds for first,4seconds for 2nd and 2 seconds for 3rd but this was discontinued a couple of years ago.
That kind of stopped the sprinters being able to pick up the yellow jersey in the opening few weeks.

The mountains are undoubtedly where most time is won and lost......yesterdays breakaway of 27 riders only gained 40 seconds on the rest of the field,whereas if such a break occurs in the mountains the struggling pack could lose the same amount of MINUTES!

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comment by Sonny (U3877544)

posted Jul 7, 2009

These comments about Cav not being good enough to win the tour are all over the internet by people who don't understand how it all works!

The Green Jersey is very very prestigious. Cav played down his chances and said it wasn't a priority beforehand but once he donned the jersey for the first time he announced it was his boyhood dream and was now the most significant moment of his career.

After following the tour since 1989 I can't begin to explain how excited I am that a British rider is set to be the dominant sprinter over the next decade. Cav getting the green jersey and winning the last stage in Paris would be far more significant than Andy Murray winning Wimbledon for example.

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posted Jul 7, 2009

I see you from your profile are a footie fan - compare Cav to a striker.
A team who scores loads of goals in a season does not necessarily will the league, rather they need consistency during the season.

With cycling tours (TDF, Giro, Vuelta) there are jerseys to cater for all - the sprinters**, climbers, overall riders and youth.
** The "sprinters" (green) jersey can also be won by those who pick up points all through the race - winning 2 stages and then coming last every day will not beat someone who comes 5th every day (a la Erik Zabel of old)

Hope that helps, enjoy Le Tour!

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comment by Ian B (U3864728)

posted Jul 7, 2009


Perhaps consider the TdF as a series of individual races held on consecutive days and testing the different disciplines of road race cycling - individual and team time trials (shorter stages, usually varying between about 20 and 60km, run against the clock for each competitor or team - most often run on flattish routes where riders who can maintain a high speed will do well; look out for the Brits David Millar and Bradley Wiggins in these, athough Cancellara is the king at the moment), flat stages (for the sprinters such as Cavendish), high mountain stages (for the usually smaller and lighter weight riders who climb well), and intermediate stages (these usually provide an opportunity for attacking riders to win from small break aways, although sometimes the sprinters or overall riders may be competetive).

On top of this, based on performance over all stages are:
Overall- based on the aggregate time taken over the course - leader wears the yellow jersey, and is currently the Swiss rider Fabien Cancellara, who won the time trial in Monaco and stayed with the lead group yesterday when the peloton split. It is worth noting however that by the end of the race, the time gaps will be measured in minutes between the top few riders, with riders around 30th position being an hour down on aggregate time.
Points competition - As with motor racing, points are awarded based on finishing positions (with lesser numbers of extra points at intermediate sprints along the route). The leader of this competition wears the green jersey, and is currently Cavendish, based on his two stage wins. Position in the overall classification is irrelevant, although if the overall leader has won several of the harder stages, they can be competetive in this competition as well.
Best climber - again, a points-based competition, with points being awarded based on the positions at the top of climbs. The points values are based on the difficulty of the climbs, and the (white with red polka dots) jersey tends to change hands a few times in the early stages as riders from the early-stage breaks pick up the points on the cat 4 and cat 3 climbs. Once the high mountains start, this jersey will probably be taken by someone like Contador or Sastre - riders high up the overall who specialise in climbing. Again, the overall leader will tend to be near the top of this classification as well.
Best Young Rider - highest rider in the overall (elapsed time) 25 years old or younger. Wears a white jersey.

The points-based jerseys can only be won by riders who complete the entire race, so even if Cav is 200 points ahead by stage 16, he has to survive the last climbing stages (not his strength) and reach Paris.

A few further points:
1) With regard to the overall time, all riders in a group are classified as having the same time - a group is defined by there being no gaps of greater than 1 second as they cross the finishing line. This is less important in the high mountains, where riders tend to finish either individually or as small groups and where time gaps can be large, but can be important in the early flatter stages - the peloton of 180 riders can take 20-30 seconds to cross the line, but occasionally a split (>1 second) can happen, and the riders towards the back of the bunch can lose 15 seconds compared with the front group. Such gaps are rarely that important by the end of the race, although can sometimes chane the dynamic of the race if a favourite loses time carelessly.
2) Each stage has a time limit as a proportion of the stage winner's time. Riders finishing outside this time are eliminated. This is rarely an issue on the flat stages (other than for riders involved in crashes or who are ill), but can be significant in the mountains and time trials, where riders not competetive for the overall have to judge their effort so as to finish inside the time cut-off.
3) This year's Tour is slightly unusual in that the initial time trial was moderately long and over a hard route - recent tradition has been for a prologue time trial of about 5km, so the sprinters can minimise their time loss and be competetive for the yellow jersey (at least until the hard climbs start) - stage wins usually carry bonus seconds for the first 3 finishes.
4) Crashes are a fact of life in bike racing. Keeping out of trouble normally requires staying near the front of the bunch (less likelihood of being held up behind a crash that blocks the road), so in the flat stages you'll often see the yellow jersey and the big sprinters riding about 20-30 back in the peloton. This however takes a bit more effort than cruising along at the back of the bunch.

Anyway, if you're new to watching bike racing, just wait till they hit the big mountains - the race changes totally, and the scenery is stunning.

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posted Jul 7, 2009

"Cav getting the green jersey and winning the last stage in Paris would be far more significant than Andy Murray winning Wimbledon for example."


I think they'd be on a par as far as personal achievements go and their respective standings in the individual sports.

Wimbledon is considered the biggest GS tournament to win by the players.

Winning the green jersey for Cav in their own minds is probably equivalent to winning Wimbledon for Murray - both represent the pinnacle of achievement in each sport.

I think to rank one as a greater achievement over the other is simply a personal preference.

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posted Jul 7, 2009

>Wimbledon is considered the biggest GS tournament to win by the players.<

Or at least that's what the British think, but that's a whole other discussion winkeye

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posted Jul 7, 2009

ScottyMuser (U1744322)-
Its like comparing a goalkeeper, and wondering why he isn't the leagues top scorer despite conceeding no goals. They are TOTALLY different.

Very well said. ok

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posted Jul 7, 2009

Get some extra back up from

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comment by Wash (U2126937)

posted Jul 7, 2009

wow, the cycling forum is so much nicer than the f1 and cricket forums. If a question like this had been asked on those 2 forums, the asker would have been publicly humiliated and insulted.

People who are new to the sport tend to be welcomed here as long as they are not obvious WUM's- they tend to get shot down with as much vigour here as anywhere else!

Another thing to remember is that cycling teams income are entirely from sponsorship/tv- nobody pays a penny to watch the TDF or any other road race as a spectator.
Ergo the more tv coverage you can get for your sponsor, the more money they might be willing to pour in next year- hence the importance of stage wins, seemingly hopeless breakaways, acquiring jerseys, post race interviews and so on...

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posted Jul 7, 2009

Can I add to the forum love too? I've learnt so much about cycling here, before I delurked to actually join in!

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