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General classification

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The general classification (or the GC) in road bicycle racing is the category that tracks overall times for riders in multi-stage races. Each stage will have a stage winner, but the overall winner in the GC is the rider who has the fastest cumulative time across all stages.[1] Hence, whoever leads the GC is generally regarded as the overall leader or winner of the race.

Riders who finish in the same group are awarded the same time, with possible subtractions due to time bonuses. Two riders are said to have finished in the same group if the gap between them is less than three seconds. A crash or mechanical incident in the final 3 kilometres of a stage that finishes without a categorised climb usually means that riders thus affected are considered to have finished as part of the group they were with at the 3 km mark, so long as they finish the stage.

It is possible to win the GC without winning a stage. It is also possible to win the GC race without being the GC leader before the last stage.

The most important stages of a bicycle race for GC contenders are mountain stages and individual time trial stages, both of which offer good opportunities for a single racer to outperform other racers.


In many bicycle races, the current leader of the GC gets a special jersey awarded. In the Tour de France, the leader wears a yellow jersey, in the Giro d'Italia a pink jersey, and in the Vuelta a España the leader's jersey is red.

Jerseys of the major stage races[edit]

Race Year Maillot of the general classification Category UCI 2022
France Tour de France 1903 Yellow First (UCI WorldTour)
Belgium Tour of Belgium 1908 Blue Second (UCI ProSeries)
Italy Giro d'Italia 1909 Pink First (UCI WorldTour)
Spain Volta a Catalunya 1911 White with horizontal green stripes First (UCI WorldTour)
Germany Tour of Germany 1911 Red Second (UCI ProSeries)
Spain Vuelta al País Vasco 1924 Yellow First (UCI WorldTour)
Poland Tour de Pologne 1928 Yellow First (UCI WorldTour)
France Paris–Nice 1933 Yellow First (UCI WorldTour)
Switzerland Tour de Suisse 1933 Yellow First (UCI WorldTour)
Spain Vuelta a España 1935 Red First (UCI WorldTour)
France Critérium du Dauphiné 1947 Yellow with horizontal blue stripe First (UCI WorldTour)
Switzerland Tour de Romandie 1947 Green First (UCI WorldTour)
France 4 jours de Dunquerke 1955 Pink Second (UCI ProSeries)
Italy Tirreno–Adriatico 1966 Blue First (UCI WorldTour)
Belgium Tour de Wallonie 1974 Yellow Second (UCI ProSeries)
Australia Tour Down Under 1999 Orange First (UCI WorldTour)
Benelux Tour of Benelux 2005 Blue First (UCI WorldTour)

The listed year is the first edition of the race. The jersey was sometimes added later.


See also[edit]