Tour de France: How riders use the ‘sticky bottle’ to gain an advantage

( CNN) Even some of the world’s best athletes require a helping hand every now and again.

Or in the case of the Tour de France, a helping bottle.

Like most athletics, cycling has its own unwritten laws. Informal gamesmanship entails rules are bent — to gain an advantage over adversaries — but not broken.

Which brings us to the “sticky bottle” — or as they say in French: “la bouteille collante.”

Should a cyclist want a beverage of water, they approach their team’s vehicle and receive one from the director. Upon handing the bottle back, they retain their grip for simply a little longer so as to receive a quick boost of speed.

A toot of the cornet from one of the race organizer’s cars is issued as a warn if the rider is deemed to be holding on for too long.

Judges will often not penalize the rider, although a time limit of one or two second seconds is usually enforced.

However, earlier this season Romain Bardet was expelled from the Paris-Nice race after the Frenchman was caught on camera holding onto his squad car.

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