Giro d'Italia classifications demystified

Most seasoned cycling fans have a grasp on the major Tour de France competitions, but the...

Most seasoned cycling fans have a grasp on the major Tour de France competitions, but the classifications of the Giro d'Italia can leave even the most veteran commentators scratching their heads. With a dozen separate classifications, it's easy to get confused. Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo explains how each competition works and more!

To wear any special jersey in the Giro d'Italia is a great honour - one which all riders dream of gaining. If a rider takes the lead in one of the jersey classifications, they get to stand proudly on the podium, get flowers and trophies as well as kisses from the podium girls after the stage. But more importantly the riders who lead either the overall classification or points, mountains or best young rider competition at the end of the stage get to wear a distinctively coloured tunics on the next stage as they defend their position.

How exactly the jerseys are awarded can be a bit mystifying at times, especially when there is a tie, but your friends at Cyclingnews are here to decipher the regulations and give some insight as to why the riders battle so hard for each sprint and mountain.

It turns out that the overall winner takes home more in accolades than he does in cash: "only" € 90,000 goes to the man on the top step in Milan, compared to the € 450,000 on offer to the Tour de France champion. However, most of the competitions come with daily prizes as well as a bonus for winning the final classification – so in order to cha-ching that cash register, a rider needs to win a few stages along the way, too.

About two-thirds of the total prize purse comes in daily stage prizes - over half a million euros! Cash primes are awarded at each intermediate sprint, mountain sprint, and for stage finishes down to 20th place - starting at €11,000. The overall leader gets € 1,000 per day for the pink jersey, the other three jerseys are awarded € 500 per day, and there is money for the most combative rider, the "breakaway" rider as well as two team prizes each and every day.

So the fight isn't just for the overall win in Milano - it's a daily battle to bring home the bacon and to make the sponsors happy for all the special attention.

Maglia Rosa (Overall Jersey)

Maglia rosa is the most sought after jersey in the Giro d'Italia. Signifying the leader in the general classification, the shirt inspires even the most manly of men to want to wear pink. But why pink? The jersey colour is the signature shade of the sponsoring newspaper, La Gazzetta dello Sport, whose pages are printed on pink paper.

The jersey is awarded after each stage to the rider with lowest cumulative time. If the top riders are tied exactly on time (for instance, in the team time trial), then the jersey is decided by the riders' position in the stage finish. Should riders be tied on time on the final stage (highly unlikely!), the GC will be determined by the fractions of seconds in the individual time trials. If it is still a tie, the lowest sum of stage finishes throughout the Giro will break the time, and should that fail, the position on the final stage will be the definitive factor.

If a rider holds the lead in another classification other than the overall, he must wear the pink jersey. His other jersey will go to the second placed rider in that classification.

Maglia Ciclamino (Sprinter's Jersey)

The Maglia Ciclamino derives its name from the Cyclamen flower, which has a purple color. Similar to the Tour de France green jersey, the Maglia Ciclamino is the domain of the sprinters, and is determined by points earned on the finishing line of each day's stage. The rider with the most consistent finishes throughout the race is awarded with the final purple jersey.

Read the complete Giro d'Italia feature.

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