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Bookies make Chris Froome favourite to do Tour de France-Vuelta double as he confirms he’ll race in Spain

"I've got the opportunity and I'm certainly going to go for it," says Team Sky rider...

Bookmakers Betway have installed Chris Froome as a strong favourite to follow up his fourth Tour de France victory in five years with winning the Vuelta a España, which begins on Saturday 19 August with a team time trial in the French city of Nîmes.

They make the Team Sky rider even money to win the Spanish Grand Tour, where he has been runner-up on three separate occasions.

The last rider to win the Tour de France and the Vuelta in the same year was Bernard Hinault, who triumphed in both races in 1978, before the Spanish race moved to its current late season slot.

That year’s edition ran from 25 April to 14 May and it marked a spectacular Grand Tour debut for the Frenchman, with Hinault winning seven stages and then going on to win the Tour de France at his first attempt.

The only other rider to have won both in the same season was Jaques Anquetil in 196, but Froome is determined to become the third, reports BBC Sport.

"I've got the opportunity and I'm certainly going to go for it," he said.

"The Vuelta is a race I love - it's vicious but it's three weeks that I enjoy. I've come second three times now and I'd love to win.

"To win both the Tour and the Vuelta in one year would be absolutely incredible."

Froome was second overall at the Vuelta to Juan Jose Cobo in 2011, Alberto Contador in 2014 – a year when both men crashed out of the Tour de France early – and to Nairo Quintana last season.

Alan Alger of Betway said: “Chris Froome is the biggest force in cycling and we rate him as an even-money shot to land a historic double at the Vuelta a Espana next month.

“Nobody has done the Tour and Vuelta double in the same year since the race moved from April to August/September, but Froome has been well backed to change all that.

“Vincenzo Nibali is next in the betting at 3/1, while Alberto Contador can be backed at 7/1 for a home triumph,” he added.

Contador is the last man to have won two Grand Tours in the same season, winning the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta in 2008.

He missed defending his 2007 Tour de France title that year because Astana, which he had joined from Discovery Channel at the start of the 2008 season, were excluded from the race.

Of the three potential combinations, the Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double is widely considered the hardest and was last achieved by the late Marco Pantani in 1998.

Quintana made it his stated goal at the start of this season but the Movistar rider finished runner-up to Team Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin in Italy and was a disappointing 12th at the Tour.

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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