Insiders say that attempting to win the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in one season is just not possible, and comment on how the attempt may affect Nairo Quintana
The Colombian is trying to win the Giro/Tour this year after already being successful in all three Grand Tours. However, it has been 19 years – since 1998 – that anyone has been able to pull off the double. Some say that it is now impossible in modern cycling.
“Physiology says that you can have two peaks in one year, but it’s not possible in the Giro/Tour time frame, maybe between the Giro and the Vuelta [a España], yes,” trainer for Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Paolo Slongo told Cycling Weekly.
“Or you just have one peak of 100 per cent over that three-month period. If Quintana wants to race the Giro and the Tour, maybe he shouldn’t be at 100 per cent for the Giro so that he can do so at the Tour.”
The Giro starts on May 5 in Sardinia and ends on May 28 in Milan. The Tour de France begins 34 days later on July 1.
The Giro d’Italia organiser has been successful in attracting an all-star cast to its 100th edition this year. Every major classification star but Chris Froome (Sky), Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), Richie Porte (BMC Racing), Romain Bardet (Ag2r) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) will be in Sardinia.
And they will race immediately, with the Giro featuring its first summit finish on Mount Etna on stage four.
“Last year, going for the double would’ve been ideal because the Giro became harder near the end so that you could have good form towards the end of the Giro and take it all the way to the Tour,” Slongo said.
“This year, to have form to handle the Giro right off on stage four, I think it’s impossible to maintain that winning form through the Tour as well.”
BMC Racing’s Max Sciandri will direct the team with Rohan Dennis and Tejay van Garderen in the Giro this May.
“I don’t want to say nothing’s impossible, but given how the races are designed…” said Sciandri. “The Giro is difficult with the two islands to start off with, demanding roads… It’s not easy.
“You can have two peaks. But when you have a peak and win the Giro, it leaves a mark on you. Yes, OK you won, but it takes something away from that second peak. That’s how I see it, but nothing’s impossible.”
Quintana placed second in his first Tour de France in 2013 behind Froome. He went to Italy the following year and won the 2014 Giro, the first Colombian to do so. He returned to the Tour, but placed second in 2015 and third in 2016. In the 2016 Vuelta, seven weeks after the Tour ended in Paris, he toppled Froome for the Spanish title.
Movistar said that if all goes as planned in the Giro, he will remain in Europe before the Tour. He will stay at his home in Monaco, perhaps spend some time at an altitude training camp, and preview some Tour stages.
“We need to see,” Movistar general manager Eusebio Unzué said when asked if a rider can have two peaks in fitness so close together. “That’s what we are going to try to do, but let’s see what happens. Normally, yes because we’ve done it with the Tour and Vuelta.
“He’ll come to the Giro in good shape. 100 per cent? Well, given the roads and stages, he can’t not come in 100 per cent because if he drops his guard the race will slip away from him.”