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Re: Giro 2019: The Big Preview
« on: May 03, 2019, 20:33 »
#ciclamino Classifica a punti

The first points classification in the Giro was used in 1958, called Trofeo A. Carli, but only after a eight year break following the first endeavour, it found its permanent place in the Giro d'Italia on from 1966.

That year there was no associated jersey, while for the two subsequent editions a red jersey was awarded to the leader of the classification. From 1969 to 2009, the jersey was mauve, but often referred to as cyclamen. After another brief period of awarding a red sprints jersey, it turned cyclamen again for the 100th edition of the Giro in 2017, and so it will be again this time.

The points scheme remains the same as in recent years. Notwithstanding the fact, that he have seen battles between riders as different as they could be, with both sprinters and pure climbers fighting for the jersey in the past when every stage counted the same, the organizers decided to stick to the approach of the points system they introduced a couple of years ago. This means stages are separated in four different categories instead, with different amounts of points being awarded.

Points awarded at the finish (by stage category)

cat. 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
a) & b)         50      35      25      18      14      12      10      8      7      6
c)         25      18      12      8      6      5      4      3      2      1
d) & e)         15      12      9      7      6      5      4      3      2      1

+ minor points for place 11-15 in category a) and b)

Points awarded at the intermediate sprint (by stage category)

cat. 1st  2nd 3rd  4th 5th  6th 7th 8th
a) b) c) & d)      12      8      6      5      4      3      2      1

...with the stages being categorized in the following way:
  • categoria a) & b): 3a - 4a - 5a - 10a - 11a - 18a
  • categoria c): 2a - 6a - 7a - 8a - 12a
  • categoria d) & e): 1a - 9a - 13a - 14a - 15a - 16a - 17a - 19a - 20a - 21a
Since the rule change in 2015 no non-sprinter has ever come in touch of winning the jersey again, and with the 5 possible sprint stages à 50 points on the line almost outscoring the combined score of all 16 remaining finishes, on paper it looks like the rules would favor a sprinter to win the jersey again.

But the big question is: who will survive the second half of the race at all?! This year's Giro is heavily backloaded, with a brutal final nine days and probably no more opportunity for the sprinters to shine any later than stage 11. There's only a handful of really quick guys in the race anyway, and if neither of them makes it to Verona (or not those who take the big points early on at least) we could happen to see a completely open fight for the #ciclamino jersey.

Over the past years also breakaways turned out to play a major part and influence the competition, as the amount of points awarded at the intermediate sprints used to be pretty high. Davide Ballerini for example came 3rd overall last year by scoring points almost solely from breakaways - this year the number of intermediate sprints has been reduced from 2 to 1 per stage though, and with only 12 points being awarded for coming 1st (instead if up to 20), the influence will decrease massively.

Favorites for the Maglia Ciclamino:

On paper the fastest sprinter in the race is Elia Viviani, and having always tried to compete for the jersey, even when the old points system favoring the gc riders was still in use - before finally fulfilling his dream in 2018 - he will be very likely to have an eye on the Ciclamino again, same as Fernando Gaviria and Giacomo Nizzolo, who won the jersey the years before. Whether they'll be able to survive the mountains again is a different question though.

Someone who would certainly have a chance if he did is Pascal Ackermann, but riding his first ever Grand Tour, he probably won't even try. The same could apply for Arnaud Demare, who is likely to also have an eye on keeping fresh for his home race Tour de France later in the year.

Puncheur type of sprinters like Juanjo Lobato, Enrico Battaglin or maybe also Ryan Gibbons & Davide Cimolai should have less problems making it over the mountains, and thereby could become contenders to win the jersey although they are probably unlikely to finish in the Top 3 in the flat sprints early on.

Outsiders could be riders like Diego Ulissi and Simon Yates, who are very capable to finish high up the order on almost all kind of stages.

#blue Classifica scalatori

Not only the jersey for the winner of the points classification has changed it's color in recent years, also the one for the King of the Mountains has - it turned from green to blue in 2012.

Often over the past years it was won by riders not taking part in the fight for pink, like Mikel Landa in 2017, or also Mikel Nieve, Giovanni Visconti or Julián Arredondo - before Chris Froome in 2018 became the first rider since Marco Pantani to win both the general classification as well as the mountain jersey in the same Giro.

Actually, more often than what the pure results indicate it had been a very open fight for the jersey between the opportunists and gc contenders in the past though. One example for that is the 2015 edition, when there was a battle between Visconti, Mikel Landa, Steven Kruijswijk and Beñat Intxausti basically until the final climb of the race, with each of them at times looking like the one to wear blue in Milano in the end.

Back in 2014 the scores of the hardest climb categories were exponentially increased to give them proportionally higher value - and this is still the case now, with points allocated in the following way (after another adjustment this year):

CIMA COPPI GPM 1a Cat. GPM 2a Cat. GPM 3a Cat. GPM 4a Cat.
      50      40      18      9      3
      30      18      8      4      2
      20      12      6      2      1
      14      9      4      1      
      10      6      2            
      6      4      1            
      4      2                  
      2      1                  

(this year's Cima Coppi is the Passo di Gavia on stage 16)

So the allocation of points is very top-heavy. 1st category climbs are of much more importance than the smaller ones, and the big differences between the top finishers gives a massive advantage to those who manage to come 1st on the big climbs - now even more so, as the score for coming 1st was increased from 45 to 50 on the Cima Coppi, 35 to 40 on 1st category climbs, 15 to 18 on 2nd category climbs and 7 to 9 on 3rd category climbs, while all other numbers remaines the same.

But in the end, the winner of the jersey it not only determined by the number of points awarded on the climbs, but also by the fact where those climbs are located during the stages:

Stage Course Pt / Underway Pt / Finish
#1      Bologna › San Luca (ITT)            
#2      Bologna › Fucecchio       9+3      
#3      Vinci › Orbetello      3      
#4      Orbetello › Frascati       3      
#5      Frascati › Terracina       3      
#6      Cassino › San Giovanni Rotondo       18      
#7      Vasto › L’Aquila       18      
#8      Tortoreto Lido › Pesaro       9+3+3      
#9      Riccione › San Marino (ITT)            18
#10      Ravenna › Modena             
#11      Carpi › Novi Ligure             
#12      Cuneo › Pinerolo       40      
#13      Pinerolo › Ceresole Reale      40+18      40
#14      Saint Vincent › Courmayeur      18+40+18+40      9
#15      Ivrea › Como       18+18+9      
#16      Lovere  ›  Ponte di Legno      50+40      
#17      Commezzadura › Anterselva      3+9      9
#18      Valdaora  › Santa Maria di Sala       3      
#19      Treviso › San Martino di Castrozza       9+3      18
#20      Feltre › Croce D’Aune-Monte Avena       18+40+18+18      40
#21      Verona › Verona (ITT)      3      
TOTAL            545      134

So contary to last year's edition with many point heavy mountain top finishes favoring the GC guys, the organizers have gone back to the approach of having the total maximum number of points available during the stages clearly exceeding those at the stage finishes (same as in 2015: 514-99, 2016: 428-127 or 2017: 466-175). This should mean that the big favorites for the overall classification look unlikely to take the mountain jersey.

Consequently, this points scheme offers all opportunities for breakaway riders to win the jersey, especially as the gaps among the GC guys will be still fairly small when the Giro reaches the first couple of real mountain stages, leaving them less freedom to attack early on.

Favorites for the Maglia Azzuro:

It's difficult to name clear favorites to win the Maglia Azzura as it always is determined by the outcome of the general classification as well, with riders casting an eye on the jersey only after losing time early on. The new points allocation should make sure that it is an ever better climber who wins, but who exactly... this year I really don't have a clue.

#white Classifica giovani

The white jersey for the best young rider was first introduced in 1976 and is awarded to the best rider not born before January 1st 1994. In 2018 it was won by Miguel Angel Lopez, becoming the fourth Colombians winner in seven year. Between 2012 and 2014 it were Rigoberto Uran, Carlos Betancur and Nairo Quintana who were victorious, before Fabio Aru brought it back to Italy in 2015 and Bob Jungels took over for Luxembourg in 2016 and 2017. The other winners since it's reintroduction in 2007 were Andy Schleck, Riccardo Riccò, Kevin Seeldraeyers, Richie Porte and Roman Kreuziger.

Favorites for the Maglia Bianca:

Last year it was a close fight between Lopez and Carapaz for third spot on the podium, and thereby also for the jersey, with the Colombian keeping the upper hand by less than a minute. This time he'll probably even need to up his game to challenge Egan Bernal.

All detailed rules for the various classifications can be found in the ~pdf Giro d'Italia Regulations
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