|Giro d’Italia Malliot Rose|
In a cycling stage race there often times when a group of breakaway riders gets far enough in front of the main peleton (pack) that one of the riders in the escape becomes the virtual leader of the race. By calculating the time gaps it is easy to claim that one rider leads the race if the race were to stop at that moment. The thing is that most times the gaps compress if not disappear all together as the race reaches the finish and the virtual lead is erased. Since race organizers only award the race leadership jersey at the end of each stage based on the results, there is not a lot of power in being the virtual leader. There is a high level of recognition for being the race leader, complete with a podium celebration, awarding of the jersey, interviews, special starting spot, and dedicated coverage from television and media at the professional level.
Concentrate on the destination. Measuring yourself against others enroute is a bit irrelevant compared to where you stand at the destination.