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The King of the Mountains (KoM; Gran Premio della Montagna or GPM in Italian) is the title given to the best climber in a cycling road race; usually and officially known as the Mountains classification. For women's cycle racing, a similar term, Queen of the Mountains (QoM) is used.
While the title may be given to the rider who achieves the highest position over several designated climbs in a single-day road race, it is more usually applied to stage races (for example, the Grand Tours, Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a España and smaller races like the Tour of California) where points are accumulated over the duration of the whole race.
In the Tour de France, at the top of each significant climb, points are awarded to the riders who are first over the top. The climbs are categorised from 1 (most difficult) to 4 (least difficult) based on their steepness and length. A fifth category, called Hors categorie (outside category) applies to mountains rated even more severe than first category. Similar ratings apply to climbs in the other major Tours.
In the Tour de France, the leader in the mountains competition wears a distinctive polka dot jersey (French: maillot à pois rouges). Although the King of the Mountains was first recognised in the 1933 Tour de France, the distinctive jersey was not introduced until 1975. In the Giro, the King of the Mountains leader wore a green jersey through 2011; beginning in 2012, the jersey will change to blue at the behest of the corporate sponsor of the mountains classification. In the Vuelta several jersey designs have been used, but since 2010 it has been white with blue polka dots.
Mountains classification winners of the Grand Tours
Two riders have won the "King of the Mountains" in the Tour de France six times: Federico Bahamontes (Spain) and Lucien Van Impe (Belgium), while Richard Virenque (France) holds the record with seven wins. Gino Bartali holds the record for the Giro d'Italia, also with seven wins, while José Luis Laguía has won the Vuelta equivalent five times.
No rider has won the "King of the Mountains" in all three Grand Tours in the same year. Only two riders, Federico Bahamontes and Luis Herrera, have won all three competitions in different years. Ten riders have achieved doubles.
- Federico Bahamontes (ESP) — 1 Giro mountains jersey (1956), 6 Tour mountains jerseys (1954, 1958, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1964), 2 Vuelta mountains jersey (1957, 1958)
- Luis Herrera (COL) — 1 Giro mountains jersey (1989), 2 Tour mountains jerseys (1985, 1987), 2 Vuelta mountains jersey (1987, 1991)
The Tour/Giro double has been achieved by four riders:
The Giro/Vuelta double has been achieved by two riders:
The Tour/Vuelta double has also been achieved by four riders:
Most wins (Grand Tour)
- 9: Federico Bahamontes - Spain
- 9: Gino Bartali - Italy
- 8: Lucien Van Impe - Belgium
- 7: Richard Virenque - France
- 6: Julio Jiménez - Spain
Winners in Grand Tour by year
- Franco Pellizotti's results have been removed, after his biological passport indicated irregular values, but the classification has not been remade yet. Egoi Martínez was ranked second.
- The competition was originally won by Austrian cyclist Bernhard Kohl, but after his positive test for and admission to the use of doping, his results have been removed and are considered vacancies in the Tour's record book. Official history of the Tour, see pages 117 and 123 Archived 2009-10-03 at WebCite
- Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España. Gbrathletics.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-13.