Giro d’Italia jerseys: Pink, purple, blue and white explained

We explain what the pink, purple, blue and white jerseys worn by riders at the Giro d'Italia represent

The Giro d’Italia is the second Grand Tour of this rejigged 2020 race calendar and there have been several riders basing their entire season around the fight for pink and the spiral trophy. But there are other prizes up for grabs over the three week trip around Italy.

The jersey for each category is awarded to the leader of that classification at the end of every stage, and the recipient earns the right to wear it during the following day’s racing.

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Richard Carapaz at the 2019 Giro d’Italia (Photo by Fabio Averna/NurPhoto)

Giro d’Italia jerseys: Pink – overall classification leader

Of course, we start with the pink jersey, or ‘Maglia Rosa‘. This is worn by the leader of the race, the rider who has got around the route faster than everyone else.

The race first took place in 1909, but the pink jersey was first awarded in 1931 to Learco Guerra after he won the first stage of that year’s race. The 2020 edition of this great race will be the 103rd.

The riders who have won the jersey the most are Eddy Merckx, Fausto Coppi and Alfredo Binda, who all took the coveted prize five times. The closest to that feat in the current pro peloton is Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) with two wins in 2013 and 2016.

Chris Froome became the first British winner of the race in 2018, which meant he held all three Grand Tour titles at the same time after winning the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España the year before.

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Nibali are just four of the riders who will battle it out to wear the jersey

Last year’s winner, Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), was originally down to return and try and defend his title, but got a late call to support Egan Bernal at the Tour de France and, as far as we know, won’t be on the start line in Monreale on October 3.

Last 10 winners of the Giro d’Italia general classification

2019 – Richard Carapaz
2018 – Chris Froome
2017 – Tom Dumoulin
2016 – Vincenzo Nibali
2015 – Alberto Contador
2014 – Nairo Quintana
2013 – Vincenzo Nibali
2012 – Ryder Hesjedal
2011 – Michele Scarponi
2010 – Ivan Basso

Pascal Ackermann in the maglia ciclamina at the Giro d’Italia 2019 (Sunada)

Giro d’Italia jerseys: Purple – points classification leader

The points jersey or ‘Maglia Ciclamino’  is purple, sort of magenta in colour and goes to the most consistent rider in the race.

Usually called the sprinters jersey as more points are awarded on the flat stages, but it is not unusual for a climber to be involved in this competition as the Giro does often have more days suited to them than the fast men.

Last year’s winner of the points jersey, though, was indeed a pure sprinter in the shape of Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe).

This jersey started it’s life in 1967 as a red jersey, but three years later it was changed to a light purple, mauve or magenta colour which the Italians called Cyclamen, after the flower.

It stayed that colour until 2010, where the red made a comeback as the ‘Maglia Rosso Passione‘ but again, seven years later and the purple made a return and that is what they have stuck with since.

Last 10 winners of the Giro d’Italia points classification

2019 – Pascal Ackermann
2018 – Elia Viviani
2017 – Fernando Gaviria
2016 – Giacomo Nizzolo
2015 – Giacomo Nizzolo
2014 – Nacer Bouhanni
2013 – Mark Cavendish
2012 – Joaquim Rodríguez
2011 – Michele Scarponi
2010 – Cadel Evans

Giulio Ciccone during stage two of the Giro d’Italia 2019 (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Giro d’Italia jerseys: Blue – Mountains classification leader

The blue jersey, or ‘Maglia Azzurra’ is the king of the mountains jersey. Unlike its namesakes at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, this is not a polka-dot jersey, but rather solidly royal blue and is awarded to the rider who accumulates the most points by getting up the categorised climbs first.

This can go to a rider getting into the breakaway every day, or to a rider flying high in the general classification, depending on how they race.

It is a big help if you are able to take the ‘Cima Coppi‘, where you can get 50 points. This name is given to the highest point on the race and is named after the great Fausto Coppi, who won the race five times.

This year’s Cima Coppi is the Passo dello Stelvio at 2758 metres in elevation, with the Colle dell’Agnello close behind at 2744 metres.

Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), put in an amazing performance to take this jersey last year and is down to ride again this year, but in support of Nibali.

Last 10 winners of the Giro d’Italia mountains classification

2019 – Giulio Ciccone
2018 – Chris Froome
2017 – Mikel Landa
2016 – Mikel Nieve
2015 – Giovanni Visconti
2014 – Julián Arredondo
2013 – Stefano Pirazzi
2012 – Matteo Rabottini
2011 – Stefano Garzelli
2010 – Mathew Lloyd

Miguel Angel Lopez finishing stage 20 of the Giro d’Italia 2019 (Luk Benies/AFP/Getty Images)

The last jersey available is the best young rider’s white jersey or, of course, ‘Maglia Bianca‘ is awarded to the best rider who is under the age of 25 when the year starts.

While this jersey does hold a lot of importance for the rider involved in it, they are usually focusing on trying to win pink with the white jersey as an added bonus.

Last year’s winner, Miguel Ángel López (Astana), tried to go for the GC but became an expert in taking the young riders classification instead. He is now no longer eligible for this category and isn’t down to race the Giro after riding the Tour de France.

Last 10 winners of the Giro d’Italia best young rider classification

2019 – Miguel Ángel López
2018 – Miguel Ángel López
2017 – Bob Jungels
2016 –Bob Jungels
2015 – Fabio Aru
2014 – Nairo Quintana
2013 – Carlos Betancur
2012 – Rigoberto Urán
2011 – Roman Kreuziger
2010 – Richie Porte

Non-jersey classifications: best team, combativity, intermediate sprint and breakaway competitions

The best team classification is pretty self-explanatory, it’s calculated by adding up the time of the three highest-placed riders. The riders from the leaders in this category wear pink numbers instead of the standard white one on the back of their jerseys.

Movistar Team have become experts at taking this prize in all three Grand Tours and are the reigning champions in this category from last year.

The intermediate sprint, combativity and breakaway prizes don’t give out jerseys but do hold a lot of prestige as well.

This especially applies to the breakaway prize, called the Premio Fuga Pinarello prize, this is for the rider who is out at the front of the race in the breakaway the for the most kilometres and is fiercely contested by the smaller Italian teams.