Winning three Grand Tours consecutively was already enough to cement Chris Froome’s place in cycling history.
However, the way in which he won the Giro d’Italia adds an extra dimension to the achievement.
The Kenya-born British rider bounced back from two early crashes to storm into the lead two days from the end with an 80km solo attack in the three-week race’s toughest stage.
“I think the manner of the victory is the thing that impresses everybody. That’s the thing that will stay in everybody’s mind. This is going to be such a signature victory of his career,” Team Sky director Dave Brailsford said as Froome wrapped up the title on Sunday. “The manner that he won this race was absolutely incredible. It’s what bike racing is all about — it’s exciting, it’s spectacular. I’m sure it will define his career over time.”
For a rider who had hitherto been known for his calculating, mechanical style, the attack up a gravel road so far from the finish on stage 19 was “crazy,” as he himself described it.
“It just felt so raw,” Froome said. “This is for me what bike racing is about.”
Froome has now won the Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana and Giro in succession, becoming only the third cyclist to hold all three Grand Tour titles at the same time and the first to achieve the feat since the Vuelta was moved to the end of the season in 1995.
Eddy Merckx won four straight between 1972 and 1973, and Bernard Hinault took three in a row in 1982 and 1983.
“This was always going to be the biggest challenge of my career,” Froome said, alluding to the “unpredictable” nature of the Giro. “But now I’ve done the triple and there’s no greater award for a professional cyclist.”
Froome, a four-time Tour de France champion, had no trouble in maintaining his 46-second lead over defending champion Tom Dumoulin of Team Sunweb in the mostly ceremonial final stage through historic Rome.
He rode a special pink-colored bike for the final stage, while his Sky teammates had pink handlebars.
Afterward, Froome announced that his wife is pregnant and due to give birth in August. He dedicated the victory to his daughter to be.
It was Froome’s sixth Grand Tour win and he becomes the seventh rider to win all three Grand Tours over their careers. He is also the first Briton to win the Giro.
Ireland’s Sam Bennett of Bora-Hansgrohe won the final stage for his third victory in this year’s race.
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