The Giro leaders’ jerseys: A touch of color in the peloton.
All the riders who line up at the start of the Giro d’Italia dream of it, but they’re not the only ones. Every bike racer, from an early age, imagines wearing that color when fantasizing about his moment of glory on two wheels. It’s the pink jersey, the symbol of supremacy, worn for three weeks by the rider who at that moment leads the general classification. In the more than hundred-year history of the Giro, the most sought-after jersey made its appearance for the first time in 1931, when the patron of the race, Armando Cougnet, chose it to make the most deserving rider stand out in the peloton and, at the same time, to pay homage to the color of the pages of the Gazzetta dello Sport, the best-selling newspaper in Italy, which created the Giro back in 1909.
The first to pull on the pink jersey, at the finish in Mantua, was Learco Guerra, on May 10, 1931. The “Human Locomotive,” as the Lombard champion was called, did not manage to keep it until Milan, though, and the first to win pink for the final victory was the Piedmontese rider Francesco Camusso, winner of the edition 87 years ago. It seems like an eternity has passed since then. The sport has evolved, and so have the fabrics used in the leader’s jersey, but the basic color, though it has appeared in many variations, has not changed: it’s always been pink.
Castelli was the first technical sponsor in 1981, when the Veneto rider Giovanni Battaglin won the Giro and was able to show off the jersey in the spectacular setting of the Verona Arena. The scorpion remained on the pink jersey until 1992, when the Spaniard Miguel Indurain triumphed. Twenty-six years later, Castelli is again creating the symbol of achievement, which, after this first part of the Giro, is on the shoulders of Simon Yates. The British rider will do everything he can to hold on to the pink jersey until the race concludes in Rome.
The best climber’s jersey is also his, though it’s currently worn by his teammate Esteban Chaves, who is just behind him in the mountains classification. After having for years distinguished the sprinters competing in the Intergiro intermediate sprints, since 2012 blue has become the color of the jersey awarded to the best climber, replacing the previous green. Last year, the Basque rider Mikel Landa won the mountains classification.
The cyclamen jersey is awarded to the king of the points classification. At the moment it is worn by the sprinter Elia Viviani, who, after leaving Team Sky last year, found another way to sport the Castelli scorpion, which was also with him in his Rio 2016 Olympic victory. If he is able to survive the mountains, the 29-year-old from of Isola della Scala will give Quick-Step its second consecutive success in this classification, after the triumph of the Colombian rider Fernando Gaviria 12 months ago.
The white jersey, which disappeared from 1994 to 2007, is again being used to recognize the best rider under age 25. After being won in recent times by champions such as Andy Schleck, Rigoberto Uran, Nairo Quintana and Fabio Aru, the white jersey is now on the shoulders of another young man whose career is poised to take off, Richard Carapaz. The promising Ecuadorian, who in Montevergine di Mercogliano gave the South American country its first-ever Giro success, can count Ecuador’s president, Lenìn Moreno, among his fans.
Jered and Ashley Gruber – Tim de Waele/Getty Images