Froome has not ridden the Giro d’Italia since 2010 – when he was disqualified for holding on to a motorbike – but Giro director Mauro Vegni hopes to tempt the Team Sky rider back to Italy, challenging him to aim for an unprecedented Grand Tour triple crown.
“He has to have the desire to try and become the first rider to achieve this feat,” Vegni told The Associated Press. “It would be historical.
“If he wins the Giro, who’s stopping him [from going on to win all three Grand Tours]? He’s one of the few riders who can really attempt to follow a Giro victory by also taking the Tour.
“But first he should grab this milestone [the Giro]. There’s plenty of motivation but it needs to be him that judges it worthy of attempting.”
With the routes of the three Grand Tours still to be announced, Froome’s 2018 race programme remains undecided. However the 32-year-old looks most likely to once again prioritise the Tour de France, where he has the chance of joining Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurain on a record five victories.
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Although Froome has spoken in the past about his desire to compete at the Giro d’Italia, it seems unlikely that he’d risk this in 2018, with no rider having won the Giro and Tour in the same year since Marco Pantani in 1998.
However Vegni still hopes to tempt Froome to take on the race, which will start with three stages in the Middle East in 2018, saying that he will sit down with the rider in the coming months, but will not be tempted to pay Froome to compete as his predecessor did with Lance Armstrong in 2009.
“We’re working on it,” Vegni continued. “I think we’ll have a chat with Froome, his coach and his manager before the end of the year.
“I don’t think that a rider like Froome or like Armstrong was has the necessity to be ‘hired,’ if we want to use that term. It’s more necessary that they feel it suits them. Riders like them don’t need any extra money. They need more of a plan, a goal, and motivation that gives them the desire to participate.”
Vegni isn’t the first person to challenge Froome to take on all three Grand Tours in 2018, with Bernard Hinault also laying down the gauntlet.
If he were to win all three Grand Tours in 2018, Froome would also become the first rider to win five Grand Tours back-to-back, better the record of three set by Merckx in 1972 and 1973, and Hinault in 1982 and 1983.