Froome has already won three Grand Tours in 12 months, with the 2017 Tour, 2017 Vuelta and the 2018 Giro d’Italia. Sky is now saying that winning all three Grand Tours in the same season could be possible.
“Who knows,” sports director Nicolas Portal responded when asked if Froome can handle that work load. “At beginning they would say that he could not do the Tour and Vuelta, then he did it, then he did the Vuelta, Giro and Tour, and we are here.
“We will see. I believe if he wants to do it, he will have the full support of the team and we trust that he can do it. The only thing is that we need to see how he’s going to feel. Only he can know how he feels.”
Froome has won the Tour de France four times and began this year’s race with the aim of matching the record of five wins. He would also be the eighth rider to win the Giro/Tour double, however, no-one has ever won all three Grand Tours in the same season.
The 33-year-old Brit obviously must survive, and win, the Tour before he could even consider such a feat.
Portal told the media two days ago that a Vuelta ride would likely follow a Tour win.
“It will be necessary to see how he feels after the Tour, because the most important thing is to pay attention to his health, but if he wins the Tour he is likely to be at the Vuelta,” Portal said over the weekend.
“It is something we will talk about after the Tour, but the possibility is there. I think he can win the three Grand Tours in a year. He has already won Tour and Vuelta consecutively, so it’s something we know how to deal with. I think it can do well.”
Froome finds it “a bit difficult” to think about the Vuelta a España right now in the Tour de France, which has only just reached the first of many mountain days.
“I’m just focused on getting through the next two weeks,” he said. “And there are other things to think about: My wife is expecting our baby at the end of the month, so hopefully I’ll make it home in time for the birth.”
The team’s focus is clearly on the mountain stages to come in the two weeks ahead. Around the team bus, decked in blue in this Tour, Brailsford meets with rider agents and other insiders with a constant eye on the future. If Froome was to race the Vuelta, some pieces would already need to be put in place.
“Everything’s possible,” Brailsford said. “The reality is we are not going to make a call until after this [Tour] is finished. That’s the truth of the matter. To go any further than ‘it’s possible’ is not the case now.”