Team Sky’s Chris Froome wants to join the greats who won the Tour de France and Vuelta a España in the same year.
The list is short, just two names, but big ones: Jacques Anquetil and Bernhard Hinault.
Winning both Grand Tours in 2015, would put in him in the ranks with Frenchman Anquetil, winner in 1963, and Hinault, 1978.
“That’d be a massive achievement,” Froome said ahead of the race.
“That’s one of the reasons I’m here, and to my knowledge, only Jacques Anquetil and Bernhard Hinault have ever actually done it. Thinking about adding my name to that list will help me get through the race as well as I can.”
Froome placed second overall behind Alberto Contador in the Vuelta last year after dropping out of the Tour due to a crash. In 2013, after winning the Tour, he raced in America before the Worlds in Florence.
Froome charged into an early lead in the Tour and held of a late charge by Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
Since the Tour, he has not officially raced, only participating in a handful of criteriums before returning to his base in Monaco for a “hard block of training.”
“I went so deep during the final week of the Tour, so I’ve been trying to recover more than anything else,” he added.
“Make no mistake about it, but I’m motivated,” he continued. “I want to give it everything I have. It’s a long race, so I hope to ride into it.”
This year heading to the Tour, Froome won the Ruta del Sol and the Critérium du Dauphiné stage races.
In the time of Anquetil’s and Hinault’s double, the Vuelta sat early in the racing calendar was a lead up race to the Giro and Tour. In a sense, they won the Vuelta/Tour double.
In 1995, the race was moved to its later summer date. If Froome succeeds when the Vuelta pulls into Madrid on September 13, he would be the first to win the Tour/Vuelta double – in that order.
Three weeks of racing stands in his way and all the top competitors bar Contador, who already called an end to his season after winning the Giro and placing fifth in the Tour.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha), and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) are in Spain for the race.
“My season was built around the Tour, which meant blocks of altitude training to time my condition perfectly,” Froome said.
“This Vuelta I’m basically racing off the back of the Tour, coming in with what I got.”