King of the Mountains

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 rouge). 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 red polka dots.