Tour winner’s prize money upped to 500,000 euros

Tour winner’s prize money upped to 500,000 euros

Flags reading in French
Flags reading in French "The 2016 Tour de France's Great Departure" are pictured in Saint-Lo, Normandy, Wednesday, three days before the start of the 103rd edition of the Tour de France cycling race. — AFP

SAINT-LO, France — This year’s Tour de France winner will receive 500,000 euros ($555,000), an increase of 11 percent from last year, organizers ASO said Wednesday.

Last year the Tour yellow jersey winner earned 450,000 euros.

The winners of the other main jerseys have also seen their prize money increased.

All riders reaching Paris will earn a minimum of 1,000 euros (up from 400 last year), while stage winners will see their prize money increased from 8,000 to 11,000 euros.

Total prize money dished out will be just under 2.3 million euros, ASO said.

‘Maximum’ security

Elite special forces have been assigned to protect the Tour de France from a potential terror threat during July.

Just seven months on from the Paris terror attacks that left 130 people dead, authorities are taking no chances during the nation’s biggest yearly sporting extravaganza.

As well as the elite GIGN special operations unit of the National Gendarmerie, there will be 23,000 police mobilized to handle security at the Grand Boucle.

Each of the 22 teams of nine riders has been assigned a dozen policemen to look after them while a police command post is being set up at the finish of every stage.

Last month, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said: “Everyone understands that this year, the Tour de France will take place in a special context.”

Cazeneuve added that the terror risk remained “very high”, meaning that the anti-terror unit will be kept close at hand to be able to react as quickly as possible to any attacks.

”Given the exceptional characteristics of the event, which lasts a month and covers 3,500km of route, our aim is to ensure in the best way possible the safety of the riders and fans, all the while without impinging on the festive atmosphere,” had said Cazeneuve.

The Tour is expected to be watched by 10-12 million people on the streets over the three weeks while it is followed by 2,000 journalists and watched in 190 countries, according to organizers ASO.

They also claim 3.5 billion TV viewers will tune into the race.

The interior ministry insists on its website that the country’s police force will not be relaxing their guard once the Euros are finished on July 10th.

”When it’s not the Euros, it’s cycling,” says a message on the website.

The site also pays tribute to the forces of order which it describes as “exhausted” due to their extra commitments since the November attacks, brought on first by a state of emergency and now by the need to provide security to two massive sporting events during the summer months, not to mention regular protests against an unpopular labor law.