Alberto Contador has said that he will not be partaking in his team owner's Triple Grand Tour €1 million incentive after announcing that he will only be racing the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France out of the three Grand Tours next season.
The idea seemed unlikely to succeed from the moment Oleg Tinkoff announced the proposition to his own team leader Alberto Contador, Giro d'Italia winner Nairo Quintana, Team Sky’s Chris Froome and current Tour de France winner Vincenzo Niabli.
However, Nibali ruled the idea out almost immediately and Chris Froome put a very large question mark over his Tour de France participation as soon as the route was announced due to the lack of time trials.
The Kenyan-born Brit suggested that he could ride the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana and miss the Tour de France, which he won in 2013.
Triple crown challenge
Therefore the triple Grand Tour challenge seems to have been put on hold for the foreseeable future after Tinkoff-Saxo’s 2014 Vuelta winner confirmed his plan to partake in the Italian and French grand tours and bypass his home race he won this season for the upcoming 2015 campaign.
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The Spaniard also mentioned that riding both the Giro and the Tour back-to-back could limit his performance when the peloton set off from Utrecht at the Tour de France next July.
He is quoted by Cycling News as saying: “On paper, the plan I have, is to do the Giro and the Tour and I think that’s a tough enough challenge.”
“I know that at some point this [doing the Giro-Tour double] could possibly undermine my options in the Tour, but [the Giro] is a race that inspires me and which I like a lot.”
It seems the only way for Tinkoff’s idea to become reality in a competitive sense is to reduce the overall distance that is associated with these gruelling three week races. However, the Giro and Vuelta race organisers feel very strongly as to not diminish their race for the benefit of what they see as a publicity stunt.
Contador is currently climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with the rest of his Tinkoff-Saxo team to integrate new riders into the team. This includes new high profile signing from the now defunct Cannonade squad and three time Tour de France green jersey winner Peter Sagan.
The Slovakian rider claims that his status in the team won’t be diminished despite the obvious general classification goals for fellow team leader Contador. He has shown in previous years that he can ride in a dual goal based team when he won a green jersey with Liquigas in 2012.
Then team-mate Vincenzo Nibali also finished third in the general classification when the team worked for both riders ambitions. However, Sagan has stated that the Grand Tours aren't at the top of his 2015 season goals and would exchange one of his three Tour de France green jerseys for a win in the one day monument classics.