How many teams are allowed in the Tour? How many riders on each team?
Twenty-one teams are invited to take part in the Tour. Each team will start with nine riders.
How do teams earn a spot in the Tour?
The organizers of the Tour and the International Association of Professional Cyclist Teams have a set of rules for team selection:
* The first 10 teams are selected based on UCI team rankings from the previous season.
* The previous year's winner's team is invited, along with the team of the World Cup winner and the winner of the team classification in the three Grand Tours.
* The final teams are selected as "wild cards" in May. The selections are based on sporting criteria.
I think they used to have teams based on country rather than sponsors up until the 1960's.
I also think that one rider on each of the top team is the designated GC person... Lance Armstrong for example.. while others are designated sprinters, king of the mountain, or have other roles.... If a team has a GC person, they will protect him the best they can. An example is if he gets a flat, other members of his team will drop back to pace him back to the peloton.