Race Tech

In pink: the numbers behind the Giro d’Italia’s maglia rosa

Eight riders wore the Giro's leader's jersey in 2016, but what's the story behind the maglia rosa?

Vincenzo Nibali claimed his second Giro d’Italia title by soaring into the maglia rosa on the penultimate day of this year’s race.

The Italian became the eighth and final rider to pull on the pink jersey in the 99th edition of the season’s first Grand Tour.

Vincenzo Nibali won this year’s Giro d’Italia – the Italian has worn the maglia rosa 21 times in his career (Pic: Sirotti)

Santini, based on Bergamo near Milan, have supplied the leader’s jersey for 20 of those 99 editions and that role involves more than just cobbling together a few pink (and red, blue and white) jerseys on race day. Here are just some of the numbers behind the maglia rosa.


Santini supplied 744 products (jerseys and other items of clothing) across the 21 race days of the Giro d’Italia. This included 460 race jerseys, of which 160 were pink.

Santini supplied 744 products to this year’s Giro d’Italia, including 160 pink jerseys (Pic: Sirotti)

The reason for the high number is the need to cater to the various sizes of the riders. As well as producing the pink jersey for the GC leader, Santini also made the jerseys for the best young rider, points classification leader and King of the Mountains – including the reverse-zipped jerseys adorned on the podium, as well as regular race-day jerseys.


Could this year’s maglia rosa be the lightest ever leader’s jersey? Santini certainly think so, having dropped the weight to just 120g.

Santini say the leader’s jersey for the 2016 Giro weighed  just 120g (Pic: Sirotti)


The eight riders to wear the leader’s jersey in this year’s race were: Tom Dumoulin, Marcel Kittel, Gianluca Brambilla, Bob Jungels, Andrey Amador, Steven Kruijswijk, Esteban Chaves and Vincenzo Nibali.

Kittel, Amador and Chaves had the shortest stints in the maglia rosa, wearing the pink jersey for just one stage, while Dumoulin, who led the race on two separate occasions, topped the GC for a total for six stages.

Tom Dumoulin was one of eight riders to pull on the maglia rosa in this year’s Giro

Of course, Nibali won the race overall, while Giacomo Nizzolo won the point classification, Mikel Nieve triumphed in the mountains classification and Jungels was the best young rider.


Alongside the four main jerseys – pink for the GC leader, white for the best young rider, red for the points classification leader and blue for the King of the Mountains – Santini created a black replica jersey for fans this year.

The last black jersey was awarded in 1951 (pic: Santini)

From 1946 to 1951, the maglia nera was awarded to the rider last in the general classification – an ‘honour’ riders were known to deploy underhand tactics to achieve – and when Giovanni Pinarello took the final ‘prize’. Of course, he went on to found the bike brand which now bears his name. This year’s last-placed finisher was Trek-Segafredo’s Jack Bobridge, so look out for ‘Bobridge Bikes’ in 65 years time.


Vincenzo Nibali was one of two Italian riders to pull on the maglia rosa this year – the other being Etixx-QuickStep’s Gianluca Brambilla. Nibali, of course, had already pulled on the iconic jersey but Brambilla became the 154th Italian to lead the Giro d’Italia in its 99 editions – 60 per cent of the total maglia rosa wearers.

Gianluca Brambilla became the 154th Italian rider to pull on the pink jersey (pic: Sirotti)

Of those, Alfredo Binda wore it 65 times – second only to Eddy Merckx in the all-time list. By contrast, in Spain only 41 per cent of the Vuelta a Espana leader’s jerseys have been worn by a Spaniard.


Significantly less Brits have pulled on the maglia rosa, however – which is little surprise given this year, for the second year running, there was no British rider on the startline.

Mark Cavendish pulls on the first maglia rosa of the 2013 Giro d’Italia – the last Brit to do so (Pic: Sirotti)

David Millar (three times), Sir Bradley Wiggins (once) and Mark Cavendish (four times) are the three Brits to have worn the maglia rosa, but that didn’t stop more than 2,000 of Santini’s replica pink jerseys selling in the UK – second only to Italy itself where more than 4,000 were sold.


Vincenzo Nibali, who weighs in at 65kg, wore a size small jersey on the final podium but he’s a positive giant compared to the smallest rider to have pulled on the maglia rosa – 2014 winner Nairo Quintana, whose 58kg frame fitted into an extra-small jersey.

Nairo Quintana is the smallest rider to have worn the maglia rosa, weighing just 58kg (Pic: Sirotti)

Santini produce all jerseys for the race in sizes extra-small to large, with 1992 and 1993 winner Miguel Indurain living up to his ‘Big Mig’ moniker when he squeezed his 80kg frame into a large jersey during his two race wins.

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