-52 Days Remaining

Tuesday 12th
posted by Morning Star in Sport

Double-winner Roche doesn’t think the Brit can add to Tour and Vuelta crowns

IT WOULD be “humanly impossible” for Chris Froome to add the Giro to his Tour-La Vuelta double in a single year, former double winner Stephen Roche said yesterday.

Froome completed the Tour and Vuelta double by winning the latter in Madrid on Sunday but Roche, who won both the Tour and Giro in 1987, does not think any rider could win all three in the same 12 months because of the importance placed on the Tour de France.

Six men have claimed all three grand tour crowns during their careers — Jacques Anquetil, Alberto Contador, Felice Gimondi, Bernard Hinault, Eddy Merckx and Vincenzo Nibali — but nobody has managed to win them all in the same year.

Roche told BBC Five Live: “I think it’s actually humanly impossible, especially in today’s day and age because the Tour de France now is so important, the top guys all hit form for the Tour de France.

“To go out and win the Giro is very hard because of the [weather] conditions back in May, going to the Tour de France on the back of winning the Giro is always very complicated and I’m sure after winning a Giro and the Tour and going on to the Vuelta I think it’s humanly impossible.”

Roche said he thought the Giro and Tour double was easier than adding the Vuelta to a Tour victory in the same year because of the status of the latter.

He said: “I did the Giro before going to the Tour which is, in one sense, a little easier because, especially in today’s cycling world, the Vuelta comes the last of the three tours and generally what happens now is everyone prepares 110 per cent for the Tour and they dig really deep to win the Tour de France.”

Roche paid tribute to Froome, who was able to refocus on winning the Vuelta after his fourth Tour victory, joining Frenchmen Anquetil (1963) and Hinault (1978) in doubling up in the same year.

The Irishman said: “Chris was very well prepared for the Tour and the Vuelta this year. It’s a very difficult feat, that’s why he’s only the third guy in the history of cycling to have done the double of Tour de France and Vuelta.”

After his Vuelta win Froome told Sky Sports: “The Tour de France takes so much out of you and winning that then getting focused for another three-week grand tour is such a big challenge, so to [win La Vuelta] is phenomenal.”