Giro d'Italia classifications explained

The classification jerseys of the Giro d'Italia
The classification jerseys of the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

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 explains how each competition works and more.

To wear any special jersey in the Giro d'Italia is a great honour: if a rider takes the lead in one of the jersey classifications, they get to stand proudly on the podium, receive the flowers and trophies and the applause of the tifosi. 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 jersey on the next stage as they defend their position and plenty of television time.

Maglia Rosa (Overall jersey)

The Maglia Rosa - or the pink jersey - is the most sought after jersey in the Giro d'Italia. Signifying the leader in the general classification, 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. There are time bonuses in the Giro d'Italia - the winner of each stage gains

If the top riders are tied exactly on time (for instance, in the absence of a prior 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 - the cyclamen jersey - returned to the Giro d'Italia in 2017 after a six year switch to a red jersey for the points classification. Similar to the Tour de France green jersey, the cyclamen (not purple) shirt 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 maglia ciclamino.

The classification has been weighted toward the sprinters since 2014, and flat stages will earn more points than mountainous ones. The stages are broken down into five categories with more points on both stage finishes and intermediate sprints for flatter days.

A category (stages 1, 3, 11, 18): Finish - 50, 35, 25, 18, 14, 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Intermediate sprint - 20, 12, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1pt.

B category (stages 5, 6, 8 and 13): Finish - 50, 35, 25, 18, 14, 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Intermediate sprint - 20, 12, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1pt.

C category (stages 10, 12): Finish 25, 18, 12, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, to 1pt. Intermediate sprint - 10, 6, 3, 2, 1pt.

D category (stages 4, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20): Finish 15, 12, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1pt. Intermediate sprint - 8, 4, 1pt.

E categories (time trial stages 2, 21): No points.

In case of a tie on points after a stage, the number of stage wins determines who will wear the jersey. If riders are still tied, then the rider with the most wins in intermediate sprints will take the jersey. If riders are tied at the end of the Giro on points, the rider with the lowest accumulated time will win the jersey.

Maglia Azzurra (Climber's jersey)

Unlike the Tour de France, the climber's jersey in the Tour of Italy doesn't have polka dots. Instead, it's solid Italian Azzurra blue, having changed from green in 2012. The Maglia Azzurra - blue jersey - is determined by points accumulated at the top of each classified climb along the route.

Longer and steeper mountains earn a rider more points, and the rider having the most accumulated points is awarded the jersey at the end of each stage. Category 4 climbs have three places (3, 2, 1), category 3 also have four (9, 4, 2, 1), category 2 have six scoring places (18, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1), category 1 have eight (40, 18, 12, 9, 6, 4, 2, 1) and finally the highest point in the Giro, or 'Cima Coppi' (this year the Passo Pordoi) has nine (50, 30, 20, 14, 10, 6, 4, 2, 1). Mountain top finishes are awarded 15, 10, 6, 4 and 2 points.

In the event of a tie, the jersey is given to the rider with the most wins on category 1 climbs. If still tied, then it goes down to wins on category 2, then category 3.

Maglia Bianca (Young rider's jersey)

This is the one competition where the Tour and the Giro share the same color for the same classification. The white jersey, or Maglia Bianca, is given to the rider under the age of 25 who is highest in the overall classification at the end of each stage.

Intermediate sprint classification (no jersey)

Regardless of stage category, riders get 12, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 for first through eighth in one of the two intermediate sprints on each stage (the other offers 3, 2, 1 bonus seconds), added across stages to determine the intermediate sprint ranking. Tie breaker is position on GC.

Breakaway prize (no jersey)

Simply the most kilometers spent off the front of the peloton. The kilometers only count if the breakaway is 10 riders or fewer, and are away for 5km or more during a stage. Radio Tour are responsible for certifying the calculations. Time breaker is the highest placing on GC.

Fighting spirit

The "fighting spirit" classification is an objective measure of points gained in stage finishes (6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1), intermediate sprints (5, 4, 3, 2, 1), and mountain sprints (Cat. 1 or Cima Coppi: 4, 3, 2, 1. Cat 2: 3, 2, 1. Cat 3: 2, 1. Cat 4: 1.)

Teams classification

The teams classification is calculated by adding the times of the three best placed rider from each team. Tie breakers on the general classification are determined by how high the team has placed on each previous stage. If the team drops below three riders remaining in the race, they will be eliminated from the team rankings altogether.

Fair Play classification

Finally, there is the Fair Play classification for teams. This is one where the more points the team has, the lower they are on the classification.

It is scored using six criteria: A warning earns 0.50 points; a fine is worth one point for every 10 Swiss francs; a time penalty is worth two points per second; a declassification of a rider or team car is worth 100 points; a disqualification/expulsion is worth 1000 points; and a positive doping control is worth 2000 points.

Penalties can be as mild as a warning for hanging onto the team car, a penalty for drafting on the cars, relegation for 'irregular sprinting' or as severe as expulsion for punching a spectator.

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