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FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Chris Froome will race the 2018 Giro d’Italia and try to make history.
The Team Sky star will follow up his Tour de France and Vuelta a España wins from summer 2017 and attempt a feat no cyclist has ever achieved in modern grand tour history: overall wins in three consecutive grand tours.
The reports that Froome would turn his attention to Italy next May 4 after four Tour victories have been circulating for some time. Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported a source within race organization RCS Sport confirmed his appearance. Other sources within the Team Sky circle told VeloNews that Froome will participate.
Organizer RCS Sport declined to confirm that Froome would race the 2018 Giro in May. It would be his first appearance since 2010. At the 2011 Vuelta a España, the Brit discovered his grand tour talents when finishing second overall and since, focused on winning the Tour.
Lining up at the Giro start in Jerusalem allows Froome to try for a piece of history. If he won, he would be the third cyclist to ever win three grand tours consecutively, following Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault. Merckx won the 1972 Tour then the 1973 Vuelta and Giro, and Hinault won the 1982 Giro and Tour, followed by the 1983 Vuelta. Prior to 1995, the Vuelta was held in the spring. If successful, Froome would also line up for a run at the Giro/Tour double, which has not been accomplished in 20 years since Marco Pantani won in 1998.
“Froome would do well to come to the Giro,” cycling great Eddy Merckx told La Gazzetta dello Sport last week. “Being the champion he is, he has to come even if he has a fifth Tour victory on his mind.”
Sky’s top brass had not responded to VeloNews when this article was published. Froome, 32, had been in Miami for some downtime with his wife and child.
Some insiders say an announcement could come soon, either from the British WorldTour team or from RCS Sport. The idea is that cycling director Mauro Vegni will announce Froome’s participation at the 2018 route presentation Wednesday.
RCS Sport already unveiled the first three stages of the 2018 Giro, which is the first grand tour to begin outside of Europe in Israel. After the first three stages, VeloNews learned that the race will re-enter via Sicily and work its way north with eight summit finishes in total. Froome will like the 34.5-kilometer time trial in the third week near Lake Garda.
The race will transfer back south for the final stage in Rome outside the Vatican on May 27. In addition to Froome, Sky could bring Geraint Thomas as a co-leader.
Froome will face several top rivals in what many consider the hardest and most technical grand tour on cycling’s calendar. Former Spanish Team Sky helper, Mikel Landa should lead the charge with new team Movistar. Fabio Aru already announced he will captain his new UAE Emirates team after finishing second and third overall in the past.
The organization will not say, but it is likely paying Sky and Froome to appear in the Giro. Past deals were supposedly done with Movistar and Nairo Quintana in 2017 and with Lance Armstrong in 2009 to attract cycling’s biggest stars to the Italian race.