Cycling: Froome to attempt Tour-Vuelta double

MADRID (AFP) - Tour de France winner Chris Froome looks set to attempt a second Grand Tour victory in less than two months after deciding to race at the Vuelta a Espana.

"Looking forward to taking on the @lavuelta Tough but always exciting for the viewers #bringiton," he wrote on his official Twitter account on Monday.

Froome claimed his second Tour de France win last month in a controversial race, as the Briton had urine thrown on him and was spat at amid ongoing accusations the 30-year-old was doping.

Speculation that he would be included among Team Sky's line-up for the race was heightened when he was included in a provisional 14-man squad for the race.

Froome has twice finished runner-up in the gruelling three-week tour around Spain on his breakthrough tour in 2011 and last year when he was edged out by Alberto Contador.

Should he emerge victorious, he would join Frenchmen Jacques Anquetil (1963) and Bernard Hinault (1978) as the only riders to win both the Tour de France and the Vuelta in the same year.

Colombian Nairo Quintana is expected to once again provide Froome's stiffest competition in the pursuit of a third Grand Tour victory of his career.

The Movistar rider ate into Froome's lead in the final week of the Tour de France, but left himself too much to do after falling off the pace in the first week.

Contador won't return to defend his crown, but an impressive field will also feature 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde and Tejay van Garderen.

The 21-stage race begins with a team time trial in Marbella on Aug 22 before returning to Madrid for the traditional final stage procession through the streets of the capital on Sept 13.