How come Orica-Greenedge made the podium after the team time trial when they finished ninth? Well in addition to podium ceremonies for the stage winner and the jerseys there are many other prizes given out each day in the Giro. No other race seems to offer as many awards.
You can be fluent in Italian or an ardent follower of pro cycling or both but it’s unlikely you’ll know your team classification from your Superteam, or your Fuga from your Fairplay.
Motivation and Incentives
Note his isn’t just a list of daily awards. Many of these awards are just enough to motivate riders and teams and they have their influence on the race. For example if you see a group of escapees about to be caught after a long day up the road and a sprint finish looks certain, only for a rider to surge clear from the doomed breakaway – like Fabio Taborre yesterday – it’s often because there’s a prize available. This and more is explained below.
Traguardo Volanti (TV)
The “flying sprint” or the intermediate sprint point earns points for the points competition and the distinctive red jersey as well as time bonuses. But it also has its own prize. The first five riders get €500, 400, 300, 200 and 100 and there’s a daily prize for the highest tally so far in the race plus a final award in Brescia when the race ends.
Literally the “blues of Italy”, it is a reference to the national colour worn by the Italian teams. The association behind the national team offers a prize whereby the first three riders on each stage win points: 4, 2 and 1 points and at the end of the race the winner gets a trophy and a cash prize. As you can imagine it correlates closely with the points jersey but it’s a distinct award.
Premio della Fuga
The “breakaway prize”. The Italian word fuga shares linguistic Latin roots with the English word fugitive. Points are awarded per kilometre for riders in a breakaway. The escape has to last at least five kilometres, it must be reported on race radio and only counts if the move has fewer than 10 riders. The distance spent away is added up and the winner is the one with the greatest number of kilometres spent on the attack. There’s a daily prize of €250 and a final award for the whole race. If you see a breakaway about to be caught and one of the riders attacks to ride solo for another minute or more then it’s often not in vain but a calculated effort to secure this prize for the day.
Unlike the Tour de France which uses a jury to arbitrarily pick the most spritely rider of the day, this award is measured via points awarded at the finish line, for intermediate sprints and for crossing mountain passes first. Again there’s a ceremony and cash prize each day with a final award on the last day for the whole race.
Based on the time of the best three riders each stage and again an award once the race finishes. They use the English term “Winning Team” for this one.
Points are awarded for the top-20 riders each day, 20 for first down to one point for twentieth. The team with the most points on the day wins the Superteam prize and €500. The scores are added up again for a final award too. That’s why Orica-Greenedge were on the podium after Stage 2.
Teams get points for bad behaviour, ranging from 0.5 points for a fine to 2,000 points for a positive doping case. The squad with the least points on the day wins a prize and the same again after the three weeks where €5,000 awaits the fairest team, €3,000 for second and €2,000 for third.
Clearly this is a prize that’s hard to target but nobody will decline the cash and it is a good reward for teams that ride fairly all race long… or at least those who spotted by the commissaires.
Still confused? Yes, there are a lot of prizes, perhaps not for all but certainly for plenty. It reminds me of the police in Italy where you have many overlapping forces: state police, provincial police, municipal police, local police, forestry police, carabinieri, guardia di finanzaand more.
Having all these prizes allows for extra sponsors and more chances for local dignitaries to meet and greet the riders in a podium ceremony. But it’s more than municipal pride, these prizes do influence the racing. But whilst we might find it confusing, the focus remains very much on the stage winner and the wearer of the maglia rosa.