Attack: When a rider suddenly accelerates to break away or open a gap on other riders. A technique used by riders with eyes on the Points Classification.
Bidon: French for water bottle
Breakaway: A group of riders who have broken away to lead the race. These could be riders who are competing for a points category, or are keen to absorb some of the prestige which comes from leading the pack. A breakaway can backfire on riders who struggle to maintain the race speed for the duration of the stage.
Bridge: When one of more riders try to catch up with a group ahead of them.
Cadence: The rate in revolutions per minute at which the rider turns the pedals.
Caravane: The procession of team cars and support vehicles following the race. These have all of the riders food, drink and technical support.
Chase: A group of riders attempting to catch the race leaders.
Commissaire: The race judge, who usually follows the race by car.
Domestique: French for "servant". A rider who supports the lead rider, fetching supplies from the team car and leading the sprinters. The Domestique's main role is to push the team's main rider and are often expendable to reach that goal.
Drafting: Also known as 'slipstreaming'. The act of riding close behind another rider to benefit from the lack of air resistance. This technique can reduce the exertion required by around half, but the risk of crash is increased due to the proximity of the riders. Drafting motorbikes or team cars is against the rules.
Flamme Rouge: Or 'Red Flag' which marks the last kilometre of the race. Can mean the end is in sight for a lone rider, or the most exciting part of the race where a group of sprinters begin battling for position.
Hit the wall: When a rider runs out of energy. Also known as getting the 'bonk' or the 'knock'.
Individual Time Trial: A stage where riders must tackle a course solo, taking away the benefits of group riding. During this stage riders can not pick up supplies from the team car, so managing exertion is key.
Lanterne Rouge: Meaning 'red light', this is the last rider on the Tour. This is not seen as a dishonour.
Lead Out: A carefully organised routine before a sprint. Supporting riders take turns leading their main Sprinter, riding as fast as possible, creating a slipstream to keep their Sprinter in contention, before peeling away when their energy is spent. The next rider then takes the lead and repeats the process. The final rider should peel away just a few hundred metres from the finish line, leaving the main Sprinter to take the glory.
Musette: The cloth shoulder bag handed up to riders at feeding stations, containing food and water bottles.
Off the back: A rider who has failed to keep pace with a peloton. Also known as 'getting dropped'.
Peloton: The main group of riders who have stuck together for efficiency. This group will stick together for the majority of the race, before breaking off towards the finish.
Rouleur: A rider who specialises in steady, consistent riding. Rouleurs are often 'super-domestiques' able to provide a wheel for the team leader for hours at a time.
Soigneur: A member of team staff who looks after the riders, performing duties such as giving massages, handing out food and water bottles.
Sprint: A short, sharp dash from a rider. Usually only used in short bursts as extremely draining for riders.
Team Time Trial: A time trial where a team work together to get the fastest time.
Tuck: A technique where riders change their body shape to reduce air resistance and increase speed on downhill sections. Different riders adopt different positions, but the tuck can make riders less stable and less responsive.
UCI: Union Cycliste Internationale - the world governing body of bike racing, based in Switzerland.
Wheelsucking: Where a rider repeatedly uses other riders slipstream, but spends no time at the front contributing to others. Also known as 'leeching'.