Tissot & the Tour de France


Tissot is responsible for the timekeeping, processing and broadcasting of results for the Tour de France. To guarantee these results, the company has put in place numerous cutting edge technological systems: timing system, finish line cell, photo finish cameras, transponders, computers - and always with at least  two for safety reasons.

At the finish line, the transponder attached to the bicycle enables the rider's identification thanks to an antenna connected to a decoder that sends a signal to the timing machine located in the control room known as the Chronopole. The Chronopole  is equipped with cameras capable of taking 10,000 images per second, representing a one ten-thousandth of a second accuracy. It's the photo finish and it's that which genuinely determines the result.

The Tour de France's official jury validates rankings in collaboration with the timekeepers. In some instances they are modified as a result of race incidents involving penalties that increase the rider's actual time. Each morning, a team of 8 timekeepers - for the road races - and up to 16 for Time Trials put in place new infrastructures for the start of the race, the intermediary sprints and the finish line and that during three weeks and over a 3,500 kilometre itinerary in order to guarantee the timekeeping and the live broadcasting of the rankings to the race organisers, the commentators and the spectators.


Tissot's technology offers a one ten-thousandth of a second and millimetre accuracy for generating each rider's race time and ranking.

The photo finish concept is to create an image in time. The finish is continuously filmed in order to generate - on a horizontal time line and with millimetre accuracy - a breakdown of the riders who are photographed at a frequency of 10,000 images per second.

Tissot has thus developed a software allowing the operators, as soon as the finish line is crossed, to identify each rider, to rank them with millimetre precision and which, paired with the transponder system, allows the riders' final data to be almost instantly communicated to the officials and the media who ensure their broadcast throughout the world.


As opposed to a road race stage, the Time Trial is solely about timekeeping with several riders progressing along the same course at the same time.

The rider sets off his time on the start ramp thanks to photocells, then additional measurements are taken at intermediary points and at the finish line thanks to the transponders present on each rider's bicycle.

These transponders have a unique signal that is sent to an antenna located on the course and which identifies the rider. This antenna is connected to a decoder that sends this signal to the timekeeping computers located in the control room.

The data is processed in real time and made available to the organisers for broadcasting on all supports, TV graphics, mobile apps and social media in order to provide continuous coverage.