Froome: Grand Tour treble ‘not impossible’ - Saudi Gazette

Froome: Grand Tour treble ‘not impossible’

Team Sky rider Chris Froome of Britain holds a plaque as winner of both the Tour de France and Vuelta Tour of Spain after the last stage of the Vuelta between Arroyomolinos and Madrid Sunday. — AFP

LONDON — Chris Froome — fresh from wrapping up a Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana double — believes winning all three Grand Tours in the same year would “take some doing” but “nothing is impossible”.

Froome, 32, completed victory in the Vuelta Sunday to become only the third man to achieve a Tour-Vuelta double in the same year and the first since Bernard Hinault in 1978.

No rider has ever pulled off a Giro-Tour-Vuelta treble and while Froome feels it is unlikely, he does not believe it is unachievable.

“I wouldn’t say it’s impossible,” the British rider, a four-time Tour de France champion, told BBC Radio Four Monday.

“Nothing’s impossible, but certainly it would take some doing.”

He was more circumspect about his chances of surpassing Belgian great Eddy Merckx’s record of 11 Grand Tour victories.

“A completely different era,” said Froome, who finished second in the Vuelta three times (2011, 2014 and 2016) before finally securing the red jersey.

“Eddy Merckx’s time of racing, he was able to win every single kind of race on the calendar. The sport has transformed since his time.”

Froome’s double triumph came after a challenging period for Team Sky.

Bradley Wiggins, Froome’s former teammate, was revealed to have obtained permission to use a powerful corticosteroid before the 2011 and 2012 Tours — the latter of which he won — and the 2013 Giro.

Wiggins and team principal Dave Brailsford said the rider’s use of the drug, which was sanctioned by cycling’s authorities, was necessary for medical reasons.

Sky is also under investigation by UK Anti-Doping over a mysterious package that was delivered to Wiggins during the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine.

Sky denies wrongdoing and when asked if his support for Brailsford was unequivocal, Froome replied: “Certainly.”

He added: “For us on the road, we’ve just been focused on the racing side of things.

“Those allegations haven’t been aimed at us at all, so it really hasn’t been an issue.”

Froome to compete in road world champs

Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Froome will compete in the time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Norway next week, British Cycling coaches said Tuesday.

Froome will not take part in the road race in Bergen. But he will take one of Britain’s two places in the time trial.

The men’s time trial, on Sept. 20, will be contested over a 31-kilometer course which features one significant climb.

Froome’s main rivals are expected to be Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands and the reigning world time trial champion, Tony Martin of Germany.

Froome, who took bronze in the Olympic time trial in Rio last year, also intends to ride in the team time trial for Team Sky.

British Cycling’s head coach Iain Dyer said: “I’m delighted to see Chris Froome wishing to finish his season in Great Britain Cycling Team colours after another fantastic year for him and I’m looking forward to seeing him in action on a course which suits his strengths.”

The world championships take place from Sept. 17 to 24. — AFP