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Cycling Jargon Buster



GC/General Classification

The ultimate winner of the event wins the General Classification and wears the yellow jersey.  In events other than the Tour de France it could be another colour ie Tour Down Under is Ochre.

TT/Time Trial

All riders complete the same course racing against the clock.


Grand Tour – There are only 3 every year that span 3 weeks.  Giro Italia, Vuelta Espana and Tour de France

One Day Classic

One day races that take place as part of the Professional season.  The big five ‘Monuments’ are Milan – San RemoTour of FlandersParis–RoubaixLiège–Bastogne–LiègeGiro di Lombardia

Yellow Jersey (TdF)

General Classification; The race leader with the shortest time accumulated on all stages

White Jersey (TdF)

Best young rider; Same as the Yellow but only for riders under 26

White with red polka dots (TdF)

King of the Mountains; Rider who has claimed the most points in designated climbs


Sprint; Rider who has claimed the most points in designated sprints

HC – Hors catégorie Climb

A hill climb that is so tough it is beyond categorisation. Originally used to describe mountain roads where cars were not expected to be able to pass, these climbs include an altitude difference of at least 1,000 meters and have an average grade of at least 7 percent.

Category 1 Climb

Climbs last 20 kilometers with an average 6 percent grade and ascend 1,500 meters.

Category 2 Climb

Climbs are 5 kilometers or longer at an 8 percent grade and ascend 500 meters.

Category 3 Climb

Climbs last approximately 5 kilometers, have an average grade of 5 percent, and ascend 150 meters.

Category 4 Climb

Climbs are short and easy.

Natural break

Cameras go off rider because he’s pissing off the side of his bike

The Bing Ring

On the bigger front chain ring so by definition ‘ard


Sudden failure to function due to depletion of all energy reserves. Less fun than the more common definition.


A group of riders who form up at the rear of a stage in a stage race to work together and beat the time cut. Usually happens in tough (mountainous) stages and consists largely of domestiques and sprinters. Also called grupetto


Nickname for Levi Leipheimer. Short story goes that when Leipheimer joined Armstrong’s team, Armstrong wanted a drink, so he just pointed at a newcomer and said “bottle”

Broom Wagon

Support vehicle driving behind the race picking up riders unable to finish


Races that a rider has won


Profile/route of the race/stage


Main bunch/field of Riders

Road Rash

Grazes and cuts received from hitting the tarmac


Riders falling off the back of the Peleton because they can’t handle the pace.

Tete de la course

French for “head of the race”


A rider who sits on the rear wheel of others and doesn’t do any work. Generally refuses to put his nose into clear air.

Cirque du Risible

A collection of amateur riders who follow the TDF dressed like Lycra clad clowns.


See Bonked

Red Number

Most aggressive rider for the previous stage (basically longest time in a breakaway).  This title is then selected at  the end of the tour.

Lanterne rouge

The rider who finishes Le Tour with the slowest time but most importantly avoids elimination, and also refers to that rider at the end of each stage as the holder of the Lanterne Rouge

Riding yourself inside-out

When a rider gives absolutely every last ounce of energy to put his team mate in a stronger position and then when he has nothing left pulls off to the side to try and somehow make the finish before cut-off.

Elimination time

The slowest time a rider can finish a leg in and be allowed to continue in the next leg. In le Tour it is based off the time the first rider takes to cross the line, so has to be calculated on the fly

Yellow Helmets

The (slightly controversial ie not liked by the riders) requirement to wear Yellow helmets for the team winning the best overall time for the tour.  This is new to the TdF


Someone who is riding with Performance enhancers or the the suspicion.