Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Froome motivated by history bid at Giro d’Italia



Froome motivated by history bid at Giro d’Italia

Cyclist Chris Froome gives a press conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday, two days before Friday's start of the Giro d'Italia. The race's 'Big Start' will be first time any of cycling's three major races – the Giro, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana – begins outside Europe. AFP
Cyclist Chris Froome gives a press conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday, two days before Friday's start of the Giro d'Italia. The race's 'Big Start' will be first time any of cycling's three major races – the Giro, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana – begins outside Europe. AFP

Froome motivated by history bid at Giro d’Italia

Chris Froome is trying to put his tumultuous Giro d’Italia preparations behind him as he focuses on making history.

Froome has won the last two Grand Tours – the Vuelta a Espana in September and the Tour de France before that in July.

Should he win the Giro this month, he would become only the third man – and first in 35 years – to hold all three Grand Tour titles at the same time.

The other two – Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault – are among the sport’s greats having both won the Tour de France a record five times.

Four-time winner Froome, 32, would like to try to emulate them in July, should he be allowed to race, but for now it is the Giro occupying his thoughts.

“That’s a huge motivation for me, that was part of my decision-making process in deciding to be here, in that I won the Tour last year and the Vuelta,” he said when asked about the cycling Grand Tour grand slam.

“I can’t remember the last time a rider won three Grand Tours consecutively like that – it’s a huge point for me.”

Jerusalem ‘fantastic’

His adverse analytical finding from a doping test during the Vuelta last year hangs heavy on his shoulders though, with much of the talk leading up to the Giro centred on whether or not he should even be participating.

The sport’s world governing body, the UCI’s rules do not preclude him from continuing to race as he fights to clear his name and avoid a doping ban.

But the UCI’s own president, David Lappartient has said he should withdraw from professional racing pending a solution to his case.

Organisers, though, are delighted to have the sport’s biggest star lining up in a dream scenario, taking on last year’s champion Tom Dumoulin and home hope Fabio Aru.

And even the potentially explosive decision to start the race in Jerusalem, followed by two stages around Israel, hasn’t dampened Froome’s enthusiasm.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised. There was obviously a lot of talk before coming here about the security concerns but it’s been fantastic,” Froome said.

Dutchman Dumoulin, 27, could not hide his excitement at the prospect of starting the race in such a fabled and atmospheric city.

“Our hotel is near the old city, I couldn’t help myself but I took the bike and rode a lap around the whole city and also through the whole city,” said the Sunweb team leader.

“I was getting a lot of eyes [strange looks]: ‘Who’s this guy?’

“Because I was in normal clothes but on a special road bike.”

‘Well-balanced’

Dumuolin’s presence creates a particular challenge for Froome, who has previously been used to putting time into his climbing specialist rivals in time-trials.

That won’t be the case against Dumoulin, the world time-trial champion, who can also hold his own on the climbs.

“On paper, I’m certainly not going to be able to rely on time-trialling to try and win the Giro,” the Briton said.

“The race is an extremely well balanced race this year: there are time-trials but also a lot of mountains.”

Those two certainly won’t be able to keep their powder dry in the mountains while waiting for the races against the clock though, as there are six summit finishes and a host of talented climbers hungry for success.

“I won’t be conserving myself in front of Froome,” said Aru, who has previously finished second and third at the Giro and vowed to ride “an attacking race”.

The 27-year-old pointed to the likes of Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, who won last month’s Tour of the Alps, Italian Domenico Pozzovivo and Colombia’s Miguel Angel Lopez as being “in great form”.

“There could be 15 riders aiming for a high finish,” he added, mentioning Colombia’s Esteban Chaves, Simon Yates of Britain, New Zealander George Bennett and Canada’s Michael Woods.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused

  • PM sets tourism reopening as centrepiece of ATF 2022

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged ASEAN to reopen tourism and trade now that many of the bloc’s member countries have vaccinated their populations. Speaking at the 40th ASEAN Tourism Forum 2022 (ATF 2022) in Preah Sihanouk province on January 18, the premier also said ASEAN has a