Chris Froome has confirmed that he will ride the Giro d’Italia in 2018 as he looks to become the first rider in 20 years to win the Giro and Tour in the same year, and the first rider since 1982 to have held all three Grand Tours at the same time.
The current Tour de France and Vuelta a España champion will line up at the start of the individual time trial in Jerusalem on May for his only his second attempt at the Giro d’Italia, and his first since 2011.
The route is likely to suit Froome, with two time trials totalling more than 40km, while the Tour de France has cut the amount of time trialling to the bare bones for its 2018 route.
Unfortunately, the big reveal was ruined by a rogue, quickly deleted tweet from Shimano, which jumped the gun a bit as it announced that Froome would be in the “Fight for Pink” about an hour before the man himself announced it via video link at the official presentation.
The money to pay for Froome’s appearance fee is expected to come from the Israeli hosts of the Big Start rather than the Italian organisers. One insider suggested to Cycling Weekly that the Israelis are paying €10 million to host the Giro and another €2 million to Froome.
Silvan Adams, head of the local organisation in Israel, could be behind Froome’s appearance – the biggest star name to participate since Bradley Wiggins in 2013 on the heels of giving Great Britain its first Tour win.
Watch: Tour de France 2018 route guide
If Froome were to win the 2018 Giro d’Italia and follow it up with Tour de France victory in July, he would become the first rider since Marco Pantani in 1998 to win cycling’s two most prestigious three week races in the same year.
However the challenge of winning both races in the same year is far from an easy one, with many great riders having failed over the last few years. Most recently Nairo Quintana finished second in the 2017 Giro d’Italia, but struggled at the Tour, eventually finishing a distant 12th.
A pink jersey in Rome would also mean that Chris Froome would hold all three of cycling’s Grand Tour titles at the same time. This would be only the third time that this has been done in history, with Bernard Hinault completing the same feat when he won the 1983 Vuelta a España (which was then held in April), and Eddy Merckx winning four consecutive Grand Tours in 1972 and 1973.