Chris Froome eyeing Giro challenge - could he claim cycling's 'Tiger Slam'?
In-depth: Chris Froome could be set to mount an assault on the only Grand Tour which still eludes him, the Giro d’Italia, with reports building that he will target the Maglia Rosa in 2018.
If Froome won the Giro d’Italia it would complete his career clean sweep of Grand Tours, with four Tour de France titles and his first Vuelta triumph in 2017 already in the bag.
It would also mean that Froome would hold all three jerseys – pink, yellow and red – at the same time, with The Times likening the possible feat to the ‘Tiger Slam’, which saw Tiger Woods hold all four major titles in golf after winning the 2001 Masters, although not all in the same year as his victories in the US Open, Open and PGA Championship came in 2000.
However, taking a shot at the Giro would also complicate his preparations for the Tour de France, when Froome aims to secure a historic fifth title...
Is a Giro punt really a possibility?
Christopher Froome of Great Britain riding for Team Sky and his son Kellan celebrate on the podium.Eurosport
The Times report followed a similar story in Spain’s El Pais, which claimed Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford was seriously considering putting Froome in for Giro contention.
Team Sky are making no comment at present, and it is thought that the nature of the Giro route will be an important factor in making any decision. If it favours Froome’s strengths, then it could be too tempting to ignore.
According to Dickinson:
"A final decision has yet to be taken but Froome is tempted to head to Italy in 2018 when there is an extra week’s gap between the Giro and the Tour, which has been pushed back a week to minimise the overlap with the football World Cup finals in Russia. A concern around the Giro for Froome has always been the cold weather which can exacerbate bronchial problems. Next year’s route, which starts on May 5 in Jerusalem as part of an opening three-day tour of Israel, is not thought to contain too many extremes of high mountains to the north."
The Giro route will be confirmed in late November. No decision is likely to come before then.
What have the Giro organisers had to say on the matter?
Giro director Mauro Vegni has been open about his desire to attract Froome, along with reigning champion Tom Dumoulin, who as yet has not committed to 2018.
"We're still working on it. At this moment I don't have a final 'no' or a final 'yes'. But from my perspective this is positive. In the past some riders have immediately said no. This means that they're still thinking about the idea of riding the Giro next year. I've been in touch with their teams and that of Nibali. I'm still hopeful that they will all come. My personal dream is to have the first and second placed riders from all three Grand Tours in 2017."
Following in the footsteps of the greats
Froome has not ridden the Giro since 2010 but becoming only the seventh man to win all three Grand Tours would cement his status as one of the all-time greats.
Bernaud Hinault was the last man to hold all three jerseys as he won the Giro and Tour in 1982 and then the following year’s Vuelta, which at the time was the first Grand Tour of the season.
"He should try that. He has proved that you can win the Tour and the Vuelta in the same year, so why not the Giro? What he has managed in Spain is a great thing because the general view was that it was not possible to win either the Giro and Tour or the Tour and Vuelta in the modern era."
For Froome, the allure of achieving one of cycling’s most impressive feats could prove too much.