By Tick and badorties of
FRMs -- Frequent Rider Miles -- will be the talk of the Tour de France
in the future. In light of the overwhelming success and popular
acceptance of the new team time trial regulations, the Tour management
has presented further changes to take effect next year.
"We recognize the necessity of making some alterations to our existing
rules in order to guarantee a fair Tour in the future," Jean-Marie
Leblanc told the thousands of gathered journalists. "As you all know,
the UCI will introduce the 'Pro Tour' next year, which will emphasize
more participation in more races. But as you also know, there are
riders who concentrate everything on just one race -- the Tour de
France, naturally -- and they have an advantage going in to that race,
of not having so many races in their legs already. So it is up to us to
find a way to balance out the two kinds of riders, and ensure that
neither has an unfair advantage."
"Therefore we are introducing Frequent Rider Miles, also known as FRMs,
which will benefit the Frequent Riders."
In mountain stages the
finishing time will be determined by a coefficient based on the
individual rider's FRMs. Each rider's time will be determined based
upon the actual finishing time, the coefficient and various other
factors, such as the weather, the altitude climbed and the steepness of
the mountains involved. If two riders cross the finish line at the same
time, the advantage would be given to the rider who has already
accumulated the most FRMs, that is, the rider who has already ridden the
most races that year. "Depending on the number of race days, this could
bring a difference of up to two minutes," explained Leblanc.
A similar reform is planned for the flat stages. Escape specialists
such as Jens Voigt or Jacky Durand would be awarded "Bonus Frequent
Rider Miles" or "BFRMs" for every mile that they are involved in an
"With the help of the recently-introduced transponders
which are now in place on every bike, we are able to determine the
activity and position of every rider virtually instantaneously. When,
for example, a group of 5 or 10 or 100 all cross the finish line at the
same time, we will be able to determine each rider's FRMs and thus
figure their placement. Of course, any BFRMs that the rider has picked
up that day will be added to his FRMs, and thus improve the standing."
Leblanc said that it has not yet been determined whether BFRMs will
carry over from day to day, or whether they will be limited to one day.
There is also the possibility of the addition of MBFRMs (Mountain Bonus
Frequent Rider Miles) to be awarded in place of the current King of the
The individual time trial will also be regulated in the same manner as
the team time trial, with a maximum loss of 3 minutes possible. The
White Jersey for the best rider under 25 will be eliminated, "because we
do not anticipate that anyone under the age of 25 will be able to
survive their FRMs in the early part of the season and still be capable
of riding the Tour," according to Leblanc. However, a Gray Jersey for
the oldest rider is under consideration.
Leblanc concluded, "We are sure that the riders will be happy with these
changes and will accept them as enthusiastically as they they did those
for the team time trial. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go
finish up the plans for the AIPs -- Artistic Impression Points -- to be
awarded next year for riding style."