Froome just completed the Tour/Vuelta double with his overall win on Sunday evening in Madrid coming a month and a half after winning the Tour in Paris. He was the first cyclist to complete the double since the Vuelta was moved to its new late summer date in 1995.
“He should try that [the Giro],” Hinault told the Guardian. “He has proved that you can win the Tour and the Vuelta in the same year, so why not the Giro?”
Froome raced the Tour de France every year since 2012 and won four titles. After placing second on three occasions in Spain, he took the Vuelta trophy home on Sunday. The Giro has never been his target.
Froome last raced the Giro d’Italia in 2010. Instead, he has been focusing on July and Sky sent others to the Giro. This May, Mikel Landa and Geraint Thomas tried to win the Giro title.
“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,” Hinault said.
“He wasn’t as dominant as usual in the Tour, but he’s really rediscovered his true capacity at the Vuelta, in spite of having one or two difficult days.”
Hinault forms a small group of seven cyclists who have won the Giro and Tour in the same season. No cyclist has ever won all three Grand Tours in the same calendar year.
Froome told BBC Radio 4, “I would not say it’s impossible. Nothing is impossible, but it will be difficult.”
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) remains the only active cyclist with wins in all three Grand Tours. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) won all three multiple times and after a stage win on Angliru and fifth overall in the Vuelta this year, he retired.
Only six cyclists have ever won all three Grand Tours: Eddy Merckx remains the king of cycling with 11 Grand Tour titles. He only raced the Vuelta once, and when he did in 1973, he won it. He won the Giro and the Tour five times each.
“A completely different era,” Froome said. “Eddy Merckx’s time of racing, he was able to win every single kind of race on the calendar. The sport has transformed since his time.”