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The cool history of the Tirreno-Adriatico leader’s jersey

The cool history of the Tirreno-Adriatico leader’s jersey

Tirreno-Adriatico began on Monday, marking the 59th edition of the long-standing Italian stage race. Juan Ayuso (UAE-Emirates) took on the first leader’s jersey after winning a short opening time trial over Filippo Ganna (Ineos-Grenadiers) in Lido di Camaiore, Italy.The history of the Tirreno-Adriatico leader’s jersey is a fascinating journey through the evolution of the race and some of the symbolism attached to this jersey.

The inception of Tirreno-Adriatico dates back to 1966 when it was first organized as a three-day stage race. By the ‘70s, it became an important preparation race for the Milano-Sanremo classic, which took place a year later. By the ‘80s, it went from six to eight stages. Over the years, the race has grown in stature and is now a prominent event in the UCI WorldTour calendar. As the race evolved, so did the design and significance of the leader’s jersey.

In the early years of Tirreno-Adriatico, the leader’s jersey was a simple affair, red and yellow. It’s called the “Race of the Two Seas,” since it traverses the coasts of both bodies of water in Italy. During the mid-‘80s, the organizers would switch to blue. The latter reflects the connection to the Tyrrhenian Sea (Tirreno in Italian), which the race circumnavigates in its early stages. The Adriatic Sea (Adriatico) comes into play later in the race, making the jersey a symbolic representation of the entire route. However, during the ‘90s, that would change, reverting back to yellow and red. However, after 2007, the jersey went to blue, and it’s stayed that way since.

For the past 14 years, there’s been even more oceanic swag for the overall winner of Tirreno-Adriatico. Now they also receive a gilded trident, referring to the weapon associated with Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. The trident trophy is called the Sea Master Trophy, a stylish award staying true to the maritime motif. Leading up to the winner’s ceremony, the trophy is symbolically lifted from the Tyrrhenian Sea by divers from the Italian Coast Guard, adding an extra layer of symbolism and connection to the race’s coastal roots.

Despite the rich history of the jersey, not everyone has always remembered the…

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