Many other stars are gathering in Alghero for the Giro’s party. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) top the list that includes Fabio Aru (Astana), Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and perhaps one or both of Orica-Scott’s Yates twins Adam and Simon.
“I said many times to the organisers to not invite Froome because in my opinion he would ruin the party!” Astana team manager Giuseppe Martinelli told CW with a laugh.
“I hope that he never thinks about the Giro and keeps going to the Tour! If he comes to the Giro, OK everything would be better for the public in the fans but we’d have a rival who would be very dangerous and I won’t say how it’d finish, but for sure he’s clearly more dangerous.”
Martinelli guided Nibali to his Giro and Tour titles. This year, he will help Aru try to win his first title in the 100th Giro.
He laughed about not having Froome, but he said that it would be great to see all the stars like Quintana racing the Giro/Tour double. Martinelli, though, can sleep that much easier without Sky bringing its top star.
Geraint Thomas and Mikel Landa will lead Sky in its quest to win its first Giro title this May. Landa placed third overall in 2015 riding under Martinelli in Astana’s turquoise colours. Last year, racing with Sky, he had to quit due to stomach problems.
“Certainly to have a Giro with Quintana, Froome, Vincenzo, Fabio and all the other stars would be beautiful, but I prefer that Chris thinks of the Tour,” Martinelli said.
“You’ve seen that the Tour, if nothing in particular happens… Look at the Vuelta a España the last year, he wasn’t going like a motor but if he didn’t lose his head that day [to Formigal] then could have won it after an overwhelming Tour de France win.
“In this moment, Froome doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. He’s the strongest in stage races.”
With titles in 2013, 2015 and 2016, Froome is one of only four three-time winners, the last being American Greg LeMond. Only four others have won more – five each – Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.
“Probably he wants to win many Tours like the big stars have done. He has a possibility to win five or six Tours,” Martinelli added.
“I think in this moment that he’s thinking of that crown, not about winning all three Grand Tours, but about wanting more than Hinault, Indurain…”