Less than 24 hours after winning the Tour de France, Chris Froome turns his gaze toward Spain.
The Sky captain has won the yellow jersey four times, but the Vuelta a España has proven a more elusive target.
Three times second, including last year’s infamous “Froomigal” stage, Froome intends to winning the Vuelta once and for all. On Monday, he confirmed he will race.
“I’ve come second three times now, and I’d love to win the Vuelta,” Froome said Monday. “The Vuelta is a race I love racing. It’s a vicious race, but it’s three weeks that I enjoy.”
Froome, 32, is also targeting cycling’s grand tour double that remains unconquered. A handful riders have won the Vuelta and Tour in the same season, but that was when the Vuelta was held in April. Since it moved to late summer, no one has won the Tour and then the Vuelta.
After seconds in 2011, 2014, and 2016, Froome wants to check the Spanish tour off his bucket list.
“To win the Tour and Vuelta in one year would be absolutely incredible,” he said. “I’ve got the opportunity now, and I’m certainly going to go for it.”
Team Sky tweaked his training schedule this year to have more miles in his legs to take on the Vuelta. He didn’t race as much this spring, in part to be stronger in the final week of the Tour. The Vuelta was very much part of that equation.
It won’t be a cakewalk for Froome, but a few big names are skipping the Vuelta. Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), and defending champion Nairo Quintana and the injured Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won’t be racing.
A few Tour riders might also start the Vuelta, including Fabio Aru (Astana) or Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale).
Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), who beat back Froome in 2014, is also mulling a Vuelta start.
A number of top riders are expected to race the Vuelta. The 2010 winner Vincenzo Nibali is high on the list. He skipped the Tour after racing to third in the Giro d’Italia.
Other Giro riders expected to line up for Vuelta include Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), Bob Jungels (Quick-Step), and Steve Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo).
Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), third in the 2015 Vuelta, will also line up for the Vuelta after crashing out of the Tour.
Orica-Scott will go all-in with three GC threats: Esteban Chaves and the Yates twin brothers.
The Vuelta starts August 19 with a team time trial in Nimes, France, and concludes September 10th in Madrid.