Giro d’Italia race director Mauro Vegni has challenged Chris Froome to ride next year’s 101st edition of the race to launch an attempt to make history by becoming the first rider to win all three of cycling’s Grand Tours in the same season.
After adding the Vuelta title last month to his four Tour de France wins, victory at the Giro d’Italia would see Froome become just the seventh man in history to have won all three races.
While Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault won all three races in succession, that was when the Vuelta was raced in the spring , before it was moved to its current August/September slot in 1995.
Vegni is appealing for Froome try and become the first man win the three Grand Tours in the same season by lining up at the start line of next year’s 101st edition of the Giro in Jerusalem next May, reports Sport24.co.za.
"He has to have the desire to try and become the first rider to achieve this feat," Vegni said. "It would be historical."
He continued: "I think he should have the right motivation to come. If he wins the Giro, who's stopping him?
"He's one of the few riders who can really attempt to follow a Giro victory by also taking the Tour.”
“But first he should grab this milestone,” said Vegni, referring to the opportunity Froome has to become the first man to win the three races in a row in the modern calendar.
“There's plenty of motivation but it needs to be him that judges it worthy of attempting."
While no rider has managed to win the Giro and Tour in the same season since Marco Pantani managed it in 1998, the timing of next year’s FIFA World Cup means the French race will start a week later, giving extra recovery time.
Vegni said that Froome’s participation in the race would be a big draw for the Giro, but ruled out paying him to participate as the race did in 2009, when owners RCS Sport paid Lance Armstrong $1 million to take part during his comeback year.
“Riders like them don't need any extra money,” he explained. “They need more of a plan, a goal, and motivation that gives them the desire to participate."
There’s little doubt, however, that organisers want him on board, however, with Vegni adding: "He creates the most interest."
Froome has ridden the Giro d’Italia twice before. His debut there came with Barloworld in 2009, when he finished 36th overall.
The following year, he rode it with Team Sky during its first year in the peloton but was disqualified after he was spotted holding onto a police motorbike on the climb of the Mortirolo.
He had already been dropped from the gruppetto, the group of riders at the rear of the race that typically includes sprinters.
Afterwards, he said that he had been struggling with a knee injury and was simply trying to make it to the finish line to abandon the race.
The other four riders to have won all three Grand Tours during their careers are Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.