Cycling

Froome to bid for Grand Tour treble in 2018 Giro

Chris Froome (Getty)
Chris Froome (Getty)

Milan - Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome confirmed on Wednesday he will race in next year's Giro d'Italia as he bids to complete the treble of Grand Tour wins.

The 32-year-old said that it was "a big motivation" to go for a third consecutive Grand Tour trophy after the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana.

The Briton has competed in the Giro just twice and not since his disqualification from the 2010 edition for holding onto a motorbike.

"It's a unique situation for me, having won the Tour and Vuelta and now having the opportunity to go to the Giro and attempt to win a third consecutive Grand Tour," said Froome, who is attempting to become just the seventh man to win all three Grand Tours.

He would be only the third cyclist in history to hold all three titles at the same time, a feat only previously achieved by Eddy Merckx in 1973 and Bernard Hinault in 1983.

"Ciao (hello) everyone, I'm looking forward to seeing you all on the start line of the 2018 Giro d'Italia," Froome said in a short video message played during the 2018 route presentation ceremony in Milan.

The Briton claimed his maiden Vuelta a Espana title in September to become just the third rider, after Frenchmen Jacques Anquetil (1963) and Hinault (1978), to win the Tour and Vuelta in the same year.

Froome will also try to become the first rider since the late Marco Pantani in 1998 to achieve a Giro and Tour double in the same season.

"It's really exciting to be able to take on a new challenge, to do something that perhaps people wouldn't expect and to mix it up," he said.

"It's a whole new motivation for me to see if I can pull off something special next year.

"I feel as if my cycling career started in Italy in some ways. I lived there for three years when I began my career as a professional, so having the opportunity to go back to the Giro in the position I am now in, and with the opportunity I have, feels in some ways like completing a circle."

Froome said both he and Team Sky had taken confidence from this season's successful Tour and Vuelta double.

"It's something the team have considered carefully and we've talked about a lot," he added.

"We know that it would be a significant feat in the modern era to win both the Giro and the Tour in the same season, but the way we managed things this year gives me confidence that I can successfully target both races.

"The way we managed that period from the Tour through to the Vuelta this season was a great learning experience for us and hopefully something that will stand me in good stead for 2018."

The 101st edition of the Italian race begins on May 4 with three stages in Israel, the first an individual time trial in Jerusalem, and will finish in Rome on May 27.

Froome will be up against home favourites Fabio Aru and Vincenzo Nibali along with defending champion Tom Dumoulin.

"Froome is a strong rider and his presence makes the race harder and more interesting," said Dutch rider Dumoulin.

Two-time Giro winner Nibali added: "His presence will honour the race. He'll be one of the biggest riders to beat and so mean a huge challenge. He's also got one of the strongest teams."

The 2018 Giro d'Italia begins in Jerusalem on Friday, May 4 and will cover 3,546.2km before finishing in Rome on Sunday, May 27. Here are the 21 stages:

Stage 1: May 4, Jerusalem West (ISR) - Jerusalem West (ISR) 9.7km Individual time trial

Stage 2: May 5, Haifa (ISR) - Tel Aviv (ISR) 167km

Stage 3: May 6, Be'er Sheva (ISR) - Eilat (ISR) 229km

Rest day: May 7

Stage 4: May 8, Catania - Caltagirone 191km

Stage 5: May 9, Agrigento - Santa Ninfa (Valle del Belice) 152km

Stage 6: May 10, Caltanissetta - Etna 163km

Stage 7: May 11, Pizzo - Praia A Mare 159km

Stage 8: May 12, Praia A Mare - Montevergine Di Mercogliano 208km

Stage 9: May 13, Pesco Sannita - Gran Sasso d'Italia 224km

Second rest day: May 14

Stage 10: May 15, Penne - Gualdo Tadino 239 km

Stage 11: May 16, Assisi - Osimo 156km

Stage 12: May 17, Osimo - Imola 213km

Stage 13: May 18, Ferrara - Nervesa Della Battaglia 180km

Stage 14: May 19, San Vito Al Tagliamento - Monte Zoncolan 181km

Stage 15: May 20, Tolmezzo - Sappada 176km

Third rest day: May 21

Stage 16: May 22, Trento - Rovereto 34.5km

Stage 17: May 23, Franciacorta Stage (Riva del Garda - Iseo) 155km

Stage 18: May 24, Abbiategrasso - Prato Nevoso 196km

Stage 19: May 25, Venaria Reale - Bardonecchia 181km

Stage 20: May 26, Susa - Cervinia 214km

Stage 21: May 27, Rome - Rome, 118km

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