After reading Wednesday’s item on the Tour de France, Crikey reader Doug Clark wrote in with a simple request: Please publish an idiot’s guide to scoring in Le Tour — buggered if I can work it out.

Suspecting that Doug is not alone, Crikey yesterday published the first in a two part series on how the Tour de France works. Part one focussed on strategy, the role of the riders within a team and how the teams work to make or break an individual competitor’s chances of victory. Today, we look at how the general classification is timed, what each jersey means, how points are allocated and the prize money involved.

Freelance journalist and cycling enthusiast Nahum Ayliffe writes:

First things first. Cadel Evans rides tomorrow night to become the first Australian to win the Tour de France. Needing just 1 minute 35 seconds to win the race, Evans’ chances all come down to this time trial. The only time trial specialist left in the top four, the signs are good for Cadel. Just two weeks ago in Cholet, Evans beat Sastre, the current leaders of le Tour, by 1 minute 16 seconds over 29.5km. This time last year he beat Sastre by 2’33” over 55 km. However, anything could happen, and Sastre has the advantage of being the last rider to leave, as well as the mythic power of the yellow jersey on his back. Peddle well, Cadel!

Meanwhile, back to our explanation of how to win le Tour. There are three criteria for winning credit: time, points and how hard you fight.

The Yellow Jersey is awarded to the cyclist with the lowest overall time. The time is calculated at the finish of each stage and added together to give an overall race time. Advantage is retained at the start of each Stage because riders begin the Stage together, regardless of their individual time gaps to the leader. The Jersey has been awarded to seven riders in this year’s Tour. Overall prize money: 450,000 Euro.

The White Jersey is awarded to the best placed young rider (under 25) in the overall classification. Prize Money is 20,000 Euro. Andy Schleck leads the classification this year, and the best placed Australian is Trent Lowe in 11th place.

The Green Jersey is awarded to the leader of the points classification at the end of the last stage in Paris. Points are accumulated during each stage of the Tour de France, both at sprint points signified by a banner during the race and at the end of the race.

The Polka Dot Jersey is awarded to the best hill climber. Points are awarded at the top of a mountain climb according to the category (difficulty) of climb. Prize Money is 25,000 Euro, but like all other jerseys, the winner must finish the Tour to win. Bernhard Kohl wears the Polka jersey, and Australian Simon Gerrans is 11th.

The best-placed team, calculated on the cumulative time of the top three placed riders in each team, wins 50,000 Euro on completion of the Tour de France. The leader of this category wears yellow numbers on their backs instead of white. Team CSC is leading this classification.

Super Combative Rider. At the end of each stage, the most combative rider will be awarded. He wears red numbers the following day. At the conclusion of the race, the most combative rider, judged by a jury of eight specialists, wins 20,000 Euro.

How are points awarded? Well might you ask. Points are awarded in the order that riders cross the line. Logically then, they are tallied and the rider with the most at the end of le Tour gets kissed by the pretty girls on the final podium.

Flat stages Medium mountain High mountain Time trial
1st 35 25 20 15
2nd 30 22 17 12
3rd 26 20 15 10
4th 24 18 13 8
5th 22 16 12 6
6th 20 15 10 5
7th 19 14 9 4
8th 17 13 8 3
9th 16 12 7 2
10th 15, etc 11, etc 6 1

Further, most teams will award financial incentives to riders for stage wins, and there are several smaller prizes in the race, like the Souvenir Henri Desgrange, which is 5000 Euros for the first person to cross the highest point of the Tour de France, won this year by South African John-Lee Augustyn.

Clear as mud?

Meanwhile, Richard Farmer writes:

The ability of Cadel Evans as a cycling time trial rider sees him a clear favourite to win the Tour de France.

Using the same principles of the market that got the Glasgow East by-election today so wrong, the Crikey Tour Indicator is:

Cyclist Chance of winning
Cadel Evans 66.3%
Carlos Sastre 28.5%
Denis Menchov 3.5%
Frank Schleck 1.1%
Christian Vandevelde 0.2%
Bernhard Kohl 0.4%