Race organizers tend to look to the Tour de France in setting rules and such, and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge has followed suit with most of its, well, suits. Here are the special jerseys racers can win.
Awarded to the rider, according to the Challenge, with the "least amount of elapsed time over the entire race." In other words, the race leader. It's widely accepted that the color comes from the page color of L'Auto, the French magazine that first organized the race. Though the Tour de France debuted in 1903, it took L'Auto editor Henri Desgrange 16 years to add the distinctive jersey so that spectators could easily find the leader among the peloton. The Challenge has taken the Tour's solid yellow and added a checkerboard design.
Given to the "strongest climber through steep grades," this jersey is also known as the King of the Mountains (KOM) jersey. Perhaps a little less dignified than the others, this jersey sports polka dots on a solid background — in the Tour, it's white with red dots; here, it'll be red with white dots. Those dots represent a type of candy made by one of the oldest chocolate companies in France, Chocolat Poulain. The title has been awarded since 1933, but the dots weren't added until 1975, when Chocolat Poulain became its sponsor.
Also known as the sprinter's jersey, green goes to the rider who "accumulates the most bonus points, which are given based on sprint line performances as well as finishing the stage in top-15 places." The color links back to the lawn-mower company that first sponsored the title in 1953.
The Tour gives the best young rider a white jersey. The Challenge has updated the look with a blue-and-white argyle print given to the rider, age 22 or younger, who has accumulated the "least amount of time over entire race." This tradition started at the Tour in 1975, and you can add three more years on to still be considered "young" in French eyes.
Brand new for 2014, this one represents something of a Colorado add-on to Tour tradition. Riders who are current residents of this state, and/or who were born here, are eligible for the Best Colorado Rider jersey. It goes to the qualifying rider with the best overall time in the Pro Challenge.
While the Tour doesn't award an orange jersey, it does offer the most aggressive rider, or "most combative," different back numbers (white on red, instead of the traditional black on white). The Challenge has chosen to give the rider "who best asserts himself in the peloton and tackles the challenges of the day" an orange-striped jersey.
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