As the peloton races around the Italian countryside, you’ll notice the riders’ Giro d’Italia jerseys are just as colorful as the beautiful scenery.
And the colored jerseys aren’t just prizes to be won by the strongest riders at the end of the tour – they show who is leading each classification amongst the sea of speeding riders.
In this article we’ll be covering:
- General Classification: The Maglia Rosa (Pink Jersey)
- Points Classification: The Maglia Ciclamino (Cyclamen Jersey)
- Mountains Classification: The Maglia Verde (Green Jersey)
- Top Young Rider: The Maglia Bianca (White Jersey)
- Minor Classifications
Ready to get up to speed on Giro d’Italia jerseys and the famed Maglia Rosa?
Let’s dive in!
General Classification: The Maglia Rosa (Pink Jersey)
Winning the Giro d’Italia means claiming victory in the General Classification (GC), taking the prestigious Maglia Rosa (“Pink Jersey” in Italian) in the process.
The Maglia Rosa was colored pink after the pink pages on which La Gazzetta dello Sport was printed on. La Gazzetta dello Sport was the newspaper that originally created the Giro d’Italia in 1909.
This is similar to the French newspaper L’Auto creating the Tour de France and coloring the winner of the General Classification’s jersey yellow, after the color of their own pages.
The pink jersey was first awarded in 1931 – a full 22 years after the inaugural Giro d’Italia, and 12 years after the Tour de France began awarding its iconic yellow jersey.
The leader of the race at the end of each stage wears the Pink Jersey the following stage. This means the Maglia Rosa identifies the leader of the race at all times to fans and competitors alike.
But how does this work in the Giro d’Italia?
The overall winner of the Giro d’Italia is decided by the total time to complete every stage. This is known as the General Classification, with the leaderboard updated at the end of each stage.
When a group of riders cross the line together, they are all awarded the same finishing time.
A break of more than one second over the line is needed to split the peloton, and in the intermittent sprint sections, this goes up to three seconds (more on that later).
During mass-start stages, the first three riders over the line are rewarded with 10, 6, and 4 bonus seconds deducted from their General Classification times respectively.
Upon completion of the final stage, the rider with the lowest time in the General Classification is declared the overall winner of the Giro d’Italia, takes the largest cash prize, and gets to keep the Maglia Rosa.
But the Pink Jersey is not the only prize up for grabs, and some riders don’t attempt to compete for this classification at all – setting their sights squarely on one of the other famous jerseys…
Points Classification: The Maglia Ciclamino (Purple Jersey)
No, “cyclamen” does not mean “men who cycle” in Italian (that would be ciclista).
The Maglia Ciclamino is worn by the leader of the Giro d’Italia’s Points Classification, which is viewed as the sprinters’ competition. The jersey is named for the distinctive-colored cyclamen plant.
Points are earned by riders finishing stages ahead of the field by being in the first places over the line.
Stages are categorized by difficulty from 1 to 3, and the points earned depend on the categorization:
- Level One stages (easiest): points are awarded to the first 20 riders on a scale from 50 to 1 point.
- Level Two stages (moderate difficulty): points are awarded to the first 15 riders on a scale from 25 to 1 point.
- Level Three stages (most difficult): points are awarded to the first 10 riders on a scale from 15 to 1 point.
The reason for this sliding scale is to position the Maglia Ciclamino as a sprinter’s jersey. Flat, easy stages are more likely to be contested by the sprinters, who tend to struggle on the difficult mountainous parts of the Giro.
Points can also be won at intermediate sprint points in the middle of a stage. Finishing these pre-determined stretches ahead of the field allows riders to pick up more points. These intermediate sprints are also categorized by difficulty and points are allocated accordingly.
The rider with the highest number of points at the end of the Giro wins the Points Classification and gets to keep the Maglia Ciclamino (along with a hefty cash prize).
In the event of a tie for points, the champion is determined by the number of stage wins, followed by sprint wins, followed by their General Classification position.
Mountains Classification: The Maglia Azzurra (Blue Jersey)
The Maglia Azzurra (Blue Jersey) is worn by the leader of the Mountains Classification.
Until 2012, the Mountain Classification leader wore the Maglia Verde (Green Jersey) – but the color was changed to blue at the request of its main sponsor.
Similar to the intermittent sprints of the Points Classification, in the Mountains Classification, points are awarded to the first riders to the top of the various marked climbs of the Giro d’Italia.
As with the intermittent sprints, climbs are categorized by difficulty, measured by gradient and length. At the Giro d’Italia, points are awarded as follows:
|Cima Coppi (CC)*||50||30||20||14||10||6||4||2||1|
The highest summit of the entire tour is designated as the “Cima Coppi” (Coppi Summit), in honor of the legendary Italian climber Fausto Coppi.
The mountain designated the Cima Coppi changes each year depending on the route used by that year’s Giro – but the most iconic is the Stelvio Pass near the Swiss border, which at 2757 m (9045 ft) is the highest point ever reached by the race.
Unlike the Tour de France, the Giro does not use an hors catégorie (HC) designation – so the Cima Coppi is the only summit awarded more points than a First Category climb.
Whichever rider finishes with the highest number of climbing points wins the Mountains Classification, associated cash prize, and gets to keep the Maglia Azzurra.
Top Young Rider: The Maglia Bianca (White Jersey)
The Giro d’Italia White Jersey is worn by the best young rider (under-26) in the race.
It is functionally identical to the General Classification, except that only those riders 25 and under qualify.
It was re-added to the Giro in 2007.
Trofeo Fast Team
The Trofeo Fast Team Classification calculated by taking the fastest three General Classification times of the four members of every team.
The team with the lowest sum of General Classification times wins the Trofeo Fast Team Classification and associated cash prize. There is no jersey for this classification.
The Combativity Classification rewards aggressive riding. It also has a cash prize but no jersey.
This is calculated by adding the number of places gained during all intermittent sprints, climbs, and stage finishes across the entire Giro.