Froome targets Tour as he fights to save Giro title

ROME • Chris Froome's stunning Giro d'Italia victory should put him among the pantheon of cycling greats but the British rider's results are likely to remain contentious for a long time, perhaps beyond July's Tour de France in which he intends to defend his title.

Ironically, Froome was congratulated on Sunday by former rival Alberto Contador as he stood on the top of the podium in Rome.

The parallel between the two riders is obvious - the Briton could suffer the same fate as the Spaniard, who was stripped of his Giro 2011 victory for a positive doping control from the previous year.

The 33-year-old Froome was competing in the gruelling three-week race through Italy despite an ongoing investigation after returning an adverse analytical finding during his Vuelta a Espana win last year.

Froome, whose lawyers have used all sorts of experts to find flaws in the anti-doping test which showed double the level of the asthma drug salbutamol allowed, said during the Giro: "I hope for the fastest decision possible."

Meanwhile, Froome said he was preparing for a bid to achieve a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title.

"Obviously the next challenge for me has to be the Tour de France," he said. "I had every right to be here, as I've said before I know I've done nothing wrong."

Froome said he plans to take a short break before preparing for the Tour de France, which runs from July 7 to 29.

A win would give him a fifth title after 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

He could also be the first rider since Marco Pantani in 1998 to achieve a Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double in the same year.

Sunday's victory also saw Froome become just the third cyclist to hold all three Grand Tour titles at the same time, along with Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault.

"This is the dream to have all three jerseys in the space of 10 months. It's an incredible feeling," added the Team Sky rider.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2018, with the headline 'Froome targets Tour as he fights to save Giro title'. Print Edition | Subscribe