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Giro boss challenges Froome to record-setting attempt

JERUSALEM (VN) — Giro d’Italia boss Mauro Vegni is hoping a chance to make history will lure Chris Froome to next year’s corsa rosa.

“It would be an opportunity for Froome to make history,” Vegni told VeloNews. “No one’s ever won three grand tours in a row like this. He could try if he comes to the Giro.”

Vegni is putting the challenge to Froome: come to the Giro, and try to make it three in a row.

It’s an interesting ruse. With back-to-back wins in the 2017 Tour de France and Vuelta a España, if Froome won the 2018 Giro, it would be something never done, at least in this order. Bernard Hinault won three-straight grand tours in 1982-83, when the Badger won the Giro-Tour in 1982, and the Vuelta in April in 1983.

Eddy Merckx won four straight grand tours — the 1972 Giro and Tour, and the 1973 Vuelta and Giro — when the Vuelta was held in April.

Since moving the Vuelta in 1995 from April to late summer, Froome became the first rider this year to pull of the Tour-Vuelta double in that order.

Vegni knows that the missing jewel on Froome’s otherwise shimmering palmares is the Giro, and hopes that Froome will eventually want to fill out his palmares.

“That’s the last big challenge for him. He’s won the Tour and Vuelta, now it remains the Giro,” Vegni said. “We hope that this will help push Froome to come to the Giro. We are hoping that he can confirm this challenge.”

This year, Froome balked at a Giro attempt despite a course that strongly favored him.

Will Froome take up the challenge in 2018, with the Giro taking an historic start in Israel? Vegni said he hopes so.

So far, Froome has been hesitant about committing to the Giro. He’s one short of joining the “Five Win” club, and suggested the Tour will be his priority in 2018.

“A fifth Tour in 2018 will be the priority and focus,” Froome said after winning the Vuelta. “We will have to see what the courses look like next year, and then sit down with the team to draw up plans.”

So far, Froome has steered clear of the Giro since his rise as a generational grand tour powerhouse. In fact, Froome hasn’t raced the Giro since 2010, when he was still anonymous in the pack. He finished 32nd in 2009 and did not finish the 2010 race.

Since then, Froome has raced 12 grand tours — six Tours and six Vueltas — with an impressive track record. He’s won five of those 12 (four Tours, one Vuelta), finished second four times (two Tours, two Vueltas), DNF’d two times (2014 Tour, 2015 Vuelta), and only once finished off the podium in races he’s completed (fourth, 2012 Vuelta).

With four Tour titles and one Vuelta win, Froome needs the Giro to join the elite company of only six riders who’ve won all three of cycling’s grand tours.

Vegni denied suggestions that the Giro designs its route with the hope of attracting a big name like Froome. He said that’s a dangerous bet because there is no guarantee the rider will come. On paper, this year’s Giro looked ideal for Froome. Instead, Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) fended off a deep field of climbers to win the 2017 maglia rosa.

The official Giro course will be unveiled this winter. Until then, the Giro will be holding out hope that Froome will race, at least sooner or later.

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