How is the 2023 Tour de France Time Limit Calculated?

Founder, Mr. Mamil

The time cut at Tour de France is the maximum allowable time for the last rider to finish the stage. Any rider who finishes the stage outside the time cut is automatically disqualified and will not start the next stage.

The time cut is something that the riders pay much attention to, especially for the high mountain stages. The General Classification (GC) contenders will be battling it out at the front of the race for Yellow Jersey and stage wins, while the sprinters will struggle to make their way up the high mountains.

The harder and faster race at the front, the more the riders at the back will struggle to make the time cut. The Tour de France has a Withdrawals page listing riders who failed to make the time cut. Their names will be marked Outside Time Limit.

How is the time cut calculated?

The time cut calculation is complex and depends on many factors. Before the Tour de France starts, the organizers will assign each stage a Coefficient.

The Coefficient, as laid out in Article 22 – Finish Time Limits of the Tour de France regulations, is a way to categorize the stage based on its type, length, and difficulty levels.

At the end of each stage, the organizers will calculate the time cut by taking into consideration ALL of the below,

  • Each stage’s Coefficient (more about this below)
  • Stage winner’s average speed
  • Stage winner’s time

Generally, the harder and/or faster the stage is, the more time is added, and vice versa.

2023 Tour de France time limits

StageStart / finishWinner’s timeWinner’s average speedTime cutRiders outside time cut
1Bilbao to Bilbao4:22:4941.55 km/h+44:410
2Vitoria-Gasteiz to San Sébastián4:46:3943.726 km/h+21:140
3Amorebieta-Etxano to Bayonne4:43:1540.989 km/h+19:500
4Dax to Nagaro4:25:2841.09 km/h+18:350
5Pau to Laruns3:57:0741.17 km/h+42:410
6Tarbes to Cauterets-Cambasque3:54:2737.083 km/h+42:120
7Mont-de-Marsan to Bordeaux3:46:2845.013 km/h+20:230
8Libourne to Limoges4:12:2647.704 km/h25:150
9Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat to Puy de Dôme4:19:4142.1 km/h+46:450
10Vulcania to Issoire3:52:3443.316 km/h+44:110
11Clermont-Ferrand to Moulins4:01:0744.742 km/h+21:420
12Roanne to Belleville-en-Beaujolais3:51:4243.712 km/h+44:010
13Châtillon-Sur-Chalaronne to Grand Colombier3:17:3341.853 km/h+33:350
14Annemasse to Morzine3:58:4538.149 km/h+42:590
15Les Gets les portes du soleil to Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc4:40:4538.255 km/h+44:550
16Passy to Combloux32:3641.227 km/h+10:450
17Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc to Courchevel4:49:0834.386 km/h+44:460
18Moûtiers to Bourg-en-Bresse4:06:4844.951 km/h+22:130
19Moirans-en-Montagne to Poligny3:31:0249.13 km/h+23:130
20Belfort to Le Markstein3:27:1838.64 km/h+37:190
Time limits for each stage

2023 Tour de France Stages’ Coefficients

The table below shows the Coefficient for all stages at the 2023 Tour de France.

StageStart and FinishDistanceTerrain123456
1Bilbao to Bilbao182 kmHillyX
2Vitoria-Gasteiz to Saint-Sébastien208.9 kmHillyX
3Amorebieta-Etxano to Bayonne187.4 kmFlatX
4Dax to Nogaro181.8 kmFlatX
5Pau to Laruns162.7 kmMountainX
6Tarbes to Cauterets-Cambasque144.9 kmMountainX
7Mont-de-Marsan to Bordeaux169.9 kmFlatX
8Libourne to Limoges200.7 kmHillyX
9Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat to Puy de Dôme182.4 kmMountainX
10Vulcania to Issoire167.2 kmHillyX
11Clermont-Ferrand to Moulins179.8 kmFlatX
12Roanne to Belleville-en-Beaujolais168.8 kmHillyX
13Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne to Grand Colombier137.8 kmMountainX
14Annemasse to Morzine Les Portes du Soleil151.8 kmMountainX
15Les Gets les portes du soleil to Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc179 kmMountainX
16Passy to Combloux22.4 kmITTX
17Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc to Courchevel165.7 kmMountainX
18Moûtiers to Bourg-en-Bresse184.9 kmHillyX
19Moirans-en-Montagne to Poligny172.8 kmFlatX
20Belfort to Le Markstein Fellering133.5 kmMountainX
21Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines to Paris Champs-Élysées115.1 kmFlatX
Time cut Coefficient for each stage

Coefficient 1 – No particular difficulty (easiest)

Time addedWinner’s average speed
4%Below 36km/h
5%36km/h to 38km/h
6%38km/h to 40km/h
7%40km/h to 42km/h
8%42km/h to 44km/h
9%44km/h to 46km/h
10%46km/h to 48km/h
11%48km/h to 50km/h
12%Above 50km/h
Added time % for Coefficient 1

Coefficient 2 – Rolling terrain

Time addedWinner’s average speed
6%Below 35km/h
7%35km/h to 36km/h
8%36km/h to 37km/h
9%37km/h to 38km/h
10%38km/h to 39km/h
11%39km/h to 40km/h
12%40km/h to 41km/h
13%41km/h to 42km/h
14%42km/h to 43km/h
15%43km/h to 44km/h
16%44km/h to 45km/h
17%45km/h to 46km/h
18%Above 46km/h
Added time % for Coefficient 2

Coefficient 3 – Rolling terrain

Time addedWinner’s average speed
10%Below 35km/h
11%35km/h to 36km/h
12%36km/h to 37km/h
13%37km/h to 38km/h
14%38km/h to 39km/h
15%39km/h to 40km/h
16%40km/h to 41km/h
17%41km/h to 42km/h
18%42km/h to 43km/h
19%43km/h to 44km/h
20%Above 44km/h
Added time % for Coefficient 3

Coefficient 4 – Very difficult

Time addedWinner’s average speed
7%Below 30km/h
8%30km/h to 31km/h
9%31km/h to 32km/h
10%32km/h to 33km/h
11%33km/h to 34km/h
12%34km/h to 35km/h
13%35km/h to 36km/h
14%36km/h to 37km/h
15%37km/h to 38km/h
16%38km/h to 39km/h
17%39km/h to 40km/h
18%Above 40km/h
Added time % for Coefficient 4

Coefficient 5 – Very difficult, short stages

Time addedWinner’s average speed
10%Below 29km/h
11%29km/h to 30km/h
12%30km/h to 31km/h
13%31km/h to 32km/h
14%32km/h to 33km/h
15%33km/h to 34km/h
16%34km/h to 35km/h
17%35km/h to 36km/h
18%Above 36km/h
Added time % for Coefficient 5

Coefficient 6 – Individual time trial

The time cut for Individual Time Trial (ITT) is the winner’s time, plus 33%.

More reading : Fastest Time Trial Average Speed at Tour de France

What do riders do to make the time cut?

Form a grupetto

The grupetto (l’autobus in French) is a group of riders who rides and finish the stage together. It’s like a lift raft, where the injured, ill riders and sprinters cling onto. Besides that, the lanterne rouge is usually part of the grupetto.

On long and hard climbs, the groupetto will ride and pace each other to make the time cut while not expending unnecessary energy. The power meter is very useful in this aspect of pacing.

The bigger the grupetto, the lower the chances of being disqualified for finishing outside the time cut. One of the well-known exceptions is when more than 20% of the riders finished outside the time cut. The organizers certainly don’t want to disqualify more than 20% of the riders on one day.

More reading : How Many Rest Days in the Tour de France?

Take extra risks on the descents

Depending on the route, some high mountain stages also feature long descends. The sprinters will take additional risks by going down the descent faster to make up time lost on the climbs.

We don’t see this often as the TV cameras are at the front of the race where all the actions are.

Ride harder

The riders must ride harder and suffer more if all else fails. If the team leader or a vital team member has a bad day, the entire team will ride around and pace him to the finish.

Retire from the race

Retiring is the last thing on every rider’s mind, even if they’re nursing a serious injury. If they have the slightest chance of making the time cut, they will ride on and hope for a better day tomorrow.

But if they start to get dropped early in the stage, they will likely abandon and retire from the race.

Which riders didn’t make the time cuts?

The time cut can be ruthless. Many high profile riders have failed to make the time cut in recent years.

In 2021, Arnaud Demare (Groupama – FDJ), Luke Rowe (Ineos Grenadiers), and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Total Energies) were among those who failed to make the time cut.

In 2013, Ted King missed the time cut on Stage 4 by just seven seconds.

Alex Lee at Mr.Mamil

Alex Lee is the founder and editor-at-large of Mr. Mamil. Coming from a professional engineering background, he breaks down technical cycling nuances into an easy-to-understand and digestible format here.

He has been riding road bikes actively for the past 12 years and started racing competitively in the senior category during the summer recently.