The Giro d’Italia is one of cycling’s three “Grand Tours”, and over three weeks, 21 stages are completed. The Giro d’Italia is normally classed as being second only to the Tour de France in terms of prestige, and each year it attracts many of the best teams and riders.
Teams aim to have one of their riders on top of the standings when the race ends, but there are many prizes and titles to be won in the race. Below are the titles currently competed for:
Race for Jerseys
Arguably the four most important titles raced for in the Giro all have coloured jerseys associated with them.
The main prize associated with the Giro d’Italia is that of the race winner; the race for the Pink Jersey, the maglia rosa. The winner of the Giro is the rider with the lowest cumulative time for all of the stages raced after the final stage has been completed.
As with the other Grand Tours, the Giro has a points based classification; the points classification is normally associated with the sprinters, and whilst this is true in the Tour de France, it is not a jersey predestined for the shoulders of a sprinter. In the Giro, points are awarded for the first 15 people across the finish line, be it a mountain stage or a flat stage. The top scorer will get to wear a red jersey, the maglia rosso passione but it as likely to be a climber as it is a sprinter.
The fight for the overall mountains classification is one that no outright sprinter is going to be able to compete for. The Giro is often noted for having even more climbs than the Tour de France, and points are awarded for each significant climb in the race; the more difficult the climb the more points are on offer. A blue jersey, the maglia azzurra is awarded to the rider who accumulates the most points during the race.
Best young rider classification
The fourth jersey competed for in the Giro d’Italia is the maglia bianca, the white jersey. This is the jersey is given to the best young rider in the race, a rider 25 or younger at the start of the season. The classification works in the same way as that of the pink jersey, and the title is awarded to the young rider with the lowest cumulative time.
Trofeo Fast Team classification
The Giro d’Italia is not solely about the individual, and only with a strong team will a rider be able to compete. The Fast Team classification is calculated after each stage, taking the cumulative times for the first three riders from a team across the line. On the next stage the work is repeated, although it could be the same or totally different three riders. At the end of the race, the team with the lowest cumulative time wins.
Trofeo Super Team classification
In addition to the timed classification there is also a points classification. The first 20 riders across the finish line are given points from 20 down to a single point. Thus if a team managed to place their riders first, second and third in a stage, they could amass 57 points for the stage; or if a team did not get a single rider in the top 20 then they would get zero points. The team at the end of the race with the highest cumulative points score wins.
Fair play classification
Cycling has been dogged in recent years with plenty of controversy, and so a Fair play classification was introduced to highlight the teams that stuck to the rules. Penalty points are administered by the organisers of the Giro for minor infringements, and so the team with the fewest points at the end of the race with win the classification.
In the majority of stages on the Giro there are two intermediate sprints, and as well as counting to the Maglia rosso passione, the points awarded also count directly to Traguardi Volante points classification. The winner of this classification is the rider with the most points at the end of the race.
The Giro d’Italia has a Combativity award, although it is not like the more famous award from the Tour de France. In the Tour de France the award is given by judges, in the Giro it is a points competition based on scores achieved in stage finishes, intermediate sprints and also mountain passes. The winner of this classification is the rider with the most points at the end of the race.
Premio della fuga
The Giro does offer a prize which is more in keeping with true combativity, and the Premio della Fuga rewards riders of breakaways. If a break from the peloton occurs with fewer than ten riders, each of those riders then receives a point per kilometre that the breakaway lasts for.
The Azzurri d’Italia classification is another points based one, rewarding the riders who appear in the first three across the finishing line. It is a classification that is particularly favourable to sprinters, who, on the flat stages, are more likely to appear at the head of the peloton.
UCI Ranking Points
Also as the Giro d’Italia is a UCI World Tour event ranking points are on offer for individual stages and overall positions for riders. A good Giro d’Italia could help a rider, team or nation be ranked number one when the year comes to an end.
All of these classifications are important for the teams and riders who compete in the race. There is prize money at stake, and for domestiques the prize money is a welcome boost to relative meagre salaries. Additionally, the Giro d’Italia is one of the most widely televised races, and it is important for teams to get their riders in positions where their sponsors are clearly visible.