Why the Giro d’Italia-Tour de France duo is so hard to achieve

Tadej Pogačar is the newest king of peloton cycling. Everyone admits it, and knows it.

In just three seasons at the WorldTour, the 22-year-old has already racked up some impressive accomplishments, including consecutive yellow jerseys at the Tour de France, a podium with third place on his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España in 2019, and two From five cycling monuments out of 30 professional wins.

So what is left?

Giro d’Italia coach Mauro Vigni says only one thing – try to win Giro and Giro in the same season.

Last week, Vigny made headlines by throwing the challenge to Pogačar: What’s the use of a fourth or fifth yellow jersey if you don’t win a Giro? Even better, why not go for the double, which is arguably one of the most elusive cycling challenges.

Nobody has done it since Marco Pantani in 1998, and some of the big names, including Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, Tom Dumoulin and Chris Froome, have all failed in their attempts.

Only seven riders won a Giro and a Tour in the same year (can you name them all?), so if Pogačar really wants to make his mark – at least according to Vegni – he needs to shoot and double-down.

The question arises: why is the dual Giro-Tour so elusive in the modern era? And who seems capable, if any, of doing so?

for us VeloNews The European editorial team dives in.

Sadhbh O’Shea: ‘I’d like to see Egan Bernal go’

Could Egan Bernal have enough depth to take on the double? (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

The Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double has always been a tough opportunity, with only seven riders achieving it, but that feat seems more elusive these days than ever.

Few riders think about it now and it has been over 20 years since Marco Pantani became the last rider to do so. With so much pressure being put on teams by their sponsors to perform the Tour, entering the Dual Giro-Tour is a huge risk and many will likely walk away from it altogether.

There was a time when it looked like Chris Froome might do it when he won the Giro d’Italia in 2018, but he eventually had to take third place in the Tour de France. With the power and depth of the modern-day peloton, a rider can’t enter either race at less than 100 percent and that’s a tough request for anyone – but not impossible.

With another year or so on his legs to put any doubts surrounding his back behind, I think Egan Bernal can rise to the challenge. He is small enough to have the flexibility to ride two big rounds in a row and has the talent to beat just about anyone in the group. I would love to see him go.

Jim Cotton: ‘Primo Roglic has the skills and intelligence to pull the double’

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 05: Primoz Roglic of Slovenia and the red-shirted Jumbo - Visma team leading during Round 76 of Spain 2021, Stage 21 a 33.8 km Single Test Stage from Padron to Santiago de Compostela /lavuelta/#LaVuelta21 /ITT/ on September 5, 2021 in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.  (Photo by Tim De Wiley/Getty Images)
Primož Roglič packs all the skills required to run the double. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Primož Roglič has all the skills needed to run in a duo.

The modern calendar usually leaves only four or five weeks between the gyro and the round. This allows a little precious time for the Giro winner to hang up his pink jersey and get down on the sofa before climbing back into the saddle to rebuild and peak again.

Post-EPO riders are seen as nearly impossible to achieve due to the damage a three-week race can do to both body and mind.

The fact that Marco Pantani last completed it in 1998 speaks volumes.

The big problem for any rider who wants to race — and win — is the risk of peaking too soon. Winning the Giro before exiting France would be seen as a misstep given the financial reward and reputation of the Tour’s yellow jersey.

No rider with a serious determination for the Tour de France title wants to throw a wrench into the works by risking injuring himself and DNF’ing the Giro or piling up fatigue at the end of the summer into winning the thing.

If anyone is going to make the Giro-Tour double in the next few years, it will be my money on Primož Roglič.

Sure, Roglič may not be as dominant as Tadej Pogačar, but he does have more racing experience than one Grand Tour during a season after completing two three-week races in both 2019 and 2020. – a young career.

Perhaps most importantly, Roglic is very consistent. He’s finished in the top four out of six of the last seven Grand Tours he’s started (with his DNF on this year’s Tour being number one) and his relentless resilience has made him one of the best players in the world for the past few seasons.

Roglic can win in a difficult time a trip Or when the race is full of mountains, while riders like Egan Bernal and Richard Carapaz are almost less.

Rojo has the skills and intelligence in the Giro-Tour duo.

Andrew Hood: “Tadej Pogačar can, but will he?”

Tour de France - Stage 12
Tadej Pogačar seems unstoppable, but is the Giro-Tour double too big even for him? (James Start/Filo News)

The Double Giro-Tour is so challenging that anyone who has tried it in the past 20 years will always regret it.

Ask Chris Froome, who opted to race the Giro in 2018, a decision that could mean he’ll be stuck with one yellow jersey a short distance from the “five-win” club on the Tour. Publicly, Froome has said he has no regrets about racing the Giro in 2018, often describing his dramatic win that came from behind that year as one of the highlights of his career. He definitely thought that he would have more chances to win the fifth crown in the Tour.

There simply isn’t enough time to recover between the end of the Giro, which is arguably the most physically demanding Grand Tour, and the start of the Tour to get into the “grande boucle” with enough freshness and depth to hold it all the way to Paris.

Racing and winning the Giro only serves to give the jockey-focused competitors a forward ride. Anyone training specifically for the Tour would have more punch and reserves than a rogue racer who dared take on the Giro.

Even Froome who was on top in 2018 said the hard work of winning the Giro – much harder than he expected – cost him during that year’s Tour.

The challenge goes back to what is considered more important, the gyro or the round?

By just about any measure, except for the emotional one, the Tour is the most prestigious race on the calendar. From sponsors to team owners, to the media and fans, the Tour – right or wrong – is the best.

Froome is among the elite riders to have won all three Grand Tours, but he could also become the only rider to have won four yellow jerseys and not go on to win fifth.

Giro organizers could devise a course that might suit a rider who was hype about the doubling, and perhaps even longer time trials to give certain grand tour specialists an edge in the Giro, but that could risk losing the race’s appeal as “the hardest race in the most beautiful place”.

Will the caffeine-free Giro help lure someone into racing along with the Tour? Perhaps, but at what cost?

Among the current generation of riders, Pogačar is the obvious choice for the double. His recovery strength and overall consistency may mean that the Giro can be realistic.

Once again, the annoying question: Will his team, sponsors or coaches allow him?

Let’s hope so. Just like most fans, I’d love to see Pogačar or someone else run for the double.

Leave a Comment