Only one man has previously started the Vuelta a España having won the Tour de France since the Spanish race moved to the Autumn and although Carlos Sastre couldn’t win the second Grand Tour he believes the double is possible.
Chris Froome will become the second maillot jaune winner to line up at the Vuelta when the race rolls out of Puerto Bañus on Saturday and has designs on joining Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault as Tour/Vuelta double winners.
While Sastre could only manage third place in the Vuelta back in 2008, he claims it was down to a lack of support from his CSC team, after a disagreement with manager Bjarne Riis, rather than a too difficult challenge.
“Of course it’s very doable,” Sastre told Spanish newspaper AS. “You can do two to three big tours with a real chance of winning. I tried it in 2008 but I lacked support to get it.
“I was physically well, and that between Tour and Vuelta I faced a long shift at the Beijing [Olympic] Games.”
Cycling Weekly’s guide to the Vuelta a España
While Sastre had 33 days of rest between his Tour win and the start of the Vuelta, Froome has had just 26, although the Brit says he is well rested after his French exploits.
Sastre may believe the double is possible, but he isn’t backing the Team Sky rider to win the race.
“[Vincenzo] Nibali comes with a good team, and perhaps is the one with more possibilities,” he added.