Grand Tours are big business – not least in terms of the prize money they offer to successful teams and riders. The total prize fund for the Giro d’Italia this year is a cool €1,500,000 – a huge sum of money by anyone’s standards – but it’s not as simple as gifting it all to the eventual winner and sending them off with a pat on the back (and a swollen wallet).
The complexities of how the money is divided up are tricky to grasp, and we don’t envy the organisers the task of figuring out the daily totals – it’s fair to say a few calculators will be required. Let’s take a look at how the money is distributed.
GC and Stage Winner Prizes
Of course, the lion’s share of the winnings goes to the eventual wearer of the maglia rosa. Whoever can endure the rigours of the Giro in the quickest time will top the general classification standings, and take home the tidy sum of €115,668 for their troubles. In 2021, this honour fell to the Colombian rider Egan Bernal, with his team mate Tao Geoghegan Hart the victor in the previous year.
Second spot on the podium earns €58,412 and the third placed rider overall, €28,801. 4th pockets €14,416, 5th €11,654, 6th and 7th €8,558 and 8th and 9th €5,725. Positions ten through twenty all take home €2,863.
In addition to the GC prize money, there’s a 'Special Prize' fund of €303,500. This isn’t added to the prize fund as it isn’t guaranteed year-on-year, presumably due to which sponsors are providing it, but when it is awarded, €150,000 goes to the winner, €75,000 to 2nd and €40,000 to 3rd, with €7,000 for 4th, €6,500 for 5th and €5,000 for the rest of riders rounding out the top ten.
Stage wins are also lucrative, netting a rider €11,010, with €5,508 for second place finishes and €2,763 for third. Prize money is awarded all the way down to 20th place on each stage, with positions 10-20 each receiving €276. Better than nothing, right?
There’s also €2,000 cash for the wearer of the maglia rosa at the end of each stage, so it’s clear to see how the money adds up when you’re one of the top contenders.
Of course, pink is not the only colour signifying a leader at the Giro. There is prize money to be had for the winners of the other key classifications too.
Points, Mountains and Young Rider Prizes
Points mean prizes! Quite literally, at the Giro d’Italia, as the ciclamino jersey is awarded to the rider who amasses the most points across the competition. Riders accrue points through winning specified intermediate sprints, and for their finishing position on stages, with more points being awarded for more difficult stages.
There are a wealth of points prizes available, with money awarded to the jersey-wearer each day (€750) along with the rider who has accrued the most points that day (€700 for the winner; €400 and €200 for second and third). The overall classification awards money as follows: 1st €10,000; 2nd €8,000; 3rd €6,000; 4th €4,000; 5th €3,000.
The mountains classification works in a similar way, with daily prizes for the King of the Mountains (€700, €400 and €200 for the first three positions), a daily prize for the maglia azzurra wearer (€750) and an overall prize, with €5000 down to €1000 being awarded to the five highest placed riders in the mountains classification.
In the white jersey competition, the best young rider for each day pockets €750, with the top five overall receiving prizes from €10,000 down to €2,000. In many cases, just as Bernal did in 2021, the overall GC winner also takes home this prize.
The team classification at the Giro d’Italia is known as the ‘Super Team’ competition. It's determined by combining the times of the three best placed riders from each team, each day – these rack up daily prizes of €500, €300 and €100. These are then collated to determine the top teams overall in the race, who are duly awarded prizes of €5,000 through €1,000 for the top five fastest teams.
It’s not all about the winners, though. There is prize money set aside for time spent in the breakaway, combativity and even fair play. Let’s break down how the rest prize money is split among the riders along the way.
Intermediate sprint prizes – awarded to riders first across the line in each of the specified sprints, with money for the top five on each day (€500 through €100) and overall prizes of €8,000 for the top rider in this competition followed by €6,000, €4,000, €2,000 and €1,000 for the next four. This rewards riders who are ahead of the pack during the day, but don’t amass the big points at the stage finish, thus allowing smaller teams the chance to bank some cash.
Fighting Spirit – an award for the most combative rider each day, who the next day will wear a red number. €250 is awarded to the daily winner and €4,000 to the overall winner.
Breakaway prizes – €100 for each stage and an overall winning prize of €4,800, for the rider who spends most kilometres in the breakaway, either solo or in a group of no more than ten riders. The breakaway must be clear for over 5km for the points to count.
Fair play – although it sounds like a term plucked from football, fair play is also rewarded in cycling. Points are awarded on the basis of teams whose riders incur the fewest penalties over the course of the race. Penalties are applied for a variety of misdemeanours, from insignificant breaches such as feeding in the wrong area right through to major violations such as deviations in sprints.
The prize fund for fair play is €10,000 and is split between the top three teams deemed the fairest over the course of the three weeks - €5,000 to the fairest team, then €3,000 and €2,000 respectively for second and third.
Altogether, prize money provides whole extra dimension to consider and appreciate at the Giro. For everything else you need to know about the race, see our complete guide to the Giro d'Italia.
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Katy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has published interviews, features, and previews in Cycling News, Rouleur, Cyclist Magazine and the British Continental. She also writes opinion pieces on her own website writebikerepeat.com and is a frequent contributor to the Quicklink podcast.
She is obsessed with the narrative element of bike racing, from the bigger picture to the individual stories. She is a cyclocross nut who is 5% Belgian and wonders if this entitles her to citizenship. Her favourite races are Ronde van Vlaanderen and La Vuelta.
In her spare time Katy is a published short fiction and non-fiction author.
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