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Fans on Twitter to decide Tour de Yorkshire aggressive rider award

'Digital' jersey unveiled in "world first" for cycling...

In what is being billed as a “world first” for cycling, the destination of one of the jerseys up for grabs at next month’s Tour de Yorkshire will be decided by fans voting on Twitter, while each stage is still in progress.

The “digital” jersey will be presented to the rider that cycling fans on Twitter deem to have been “the most aggressive, the rider who has made the greatest effort, and who has demonstrated the best qualities in terms of sportsmanship” during each stage of the three-day race, which starts on 1 May.

It’s similar to the combativity prize in the Tour de France, typically awarded to a member of the day’s break, although that is awarded by a jury chaired by an official from organisers ASO – who are jointly running the new race with Welcome to Yorkshire – and comprising TV and print journalists.

The other big difference is that in the Tour de France, the winner of the prize doesn’t get a jersey, but instead wears a red dossard the following day.

As in the Tour de France’s combativity prize, the decision of who will win the digital jersey will be determined towards the end of the stage, with voting open for half an hour, beginning with around 40 minutes to the finish and finishing with 10 minutes to go.

To vote, fans simply need to follow @letouryorkshire on Twitter and vote for riders selected by the race director towards the end of the stage on a voting card which will appear on both the web and app versions of the social network.

Once they have voted, the page refreshes to show who is leading the vote – clearly it won’t be hard to share that information online, which could affect how the voting goes towards the end of that 30-minute window.

ASO’s Christian Prudhomme, race director of the Tour de France, said: “The Tour de Yorkshire is the perfect race to launch a digital jersey – especially coming so soon after the enormous success of the 2014 Tour De France Yorkshire Grand Départ.

“We know that the people of Yorkshire and the UK will vote in large numbers for the most aggressive rider – especially for the British cyclists who are riding on home soil, who will push hard, be active in breakaways, and be recognised by the public.”

The jersey, designed by Milltag, is being sponsored by Dimension Data, whose executive chairman Jeremy Ord said: “We’re very excited to sponsor cycling’s first ever digital jersey.

“As the official technology partner for ASO, our goal in year one is to revolutionise the viewing experience of cycling fans across the world.

“The introduction of the digital jersey is another step in enabling ASO to deliver on its vision to transform the sport of cycling in the fast-evolving digitally driven world. Now, for the first time ever, cycling fans will be able to vote on the most aggressive rider,” he added.

The team line-ups for the race were announced yesterday, with star names including Giant-Alpecin’s Marcel Kittel, winner of the opening stage of the Tour de France in Harrogate last year, Yorkshire-born Ben Swift of Team Sky, and of course Sir Bradley Wiggins, leading his new Team Wiggins squad.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s chief executive Gary Verity commented: “We’re breaking new ground getting people involved in voting for the most aggressive rider. Race weekend will be like no other the UK has seen.

“Combined with the other new, very impressive podium jerseys, we’re very excited to see who will be the first riders to wear them.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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