Join Date: Oct 2003
Bikes: Cannondale 2.8, Specialized S-works E5 road, GT Talera
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If you miss a stage, or miss the time cut on any stage (you have to finish within 10% or so of the leaders time) You have technically abandoned the race, and cannot continue.
I think the time cut fluctuates depending on the severity of the stage, but it is enforced at the race directors discretion. In some of the mountain stages of the tour, large groups may miss the time cut, but becuase there are so many riders, Jean Marie lets it slide.
However there was a race earlier this year where over 100 riders missed the time cut on the 2nd to last stage. The director was pissed off enough and DQ'd them all. There were something like 18 riders contesting the last stage.
I don't know if it is in enforced in the prolouge of the TdF or not, but Im pretty sure it will be done away with for the TT up l'Alpe d'Huez