Vegni keen for riders to attempt Giro-Tour double

2015 route designed to allow Contador et al to ride both races

After unveiling the route of the 2015 Giro d’Italia in Milan on Monday, race director Mauro Vegni explained that the parcours has been designed to facilitate riders who wish to attempt to ride – and win – both the Giro and the Tour de France in the same year.

Alberto Contador has already signalled his intentions to ride the Giro and the Tour next season. The Spaniard previously attempted the double in 2011, when his results were ultimately excised from the record books due to his 2010 positive test for clenbuterol.

On that occasion, Contador wore the pink jersey into Milan but paid a price for those efforts at the Tour, but the route of the next year’s Giro appears to be more balanced than the extremes the peloton faced during the corsa rosa of 2011.

“This Giro is designed so that a rider – and Alberto was the first to float this idea – can allow himself to ride the Giro d’Italia and try to win it, and then go to the Tour, be competitive and try to win that too,” Vegni said. “I don’t think that the Giro can do any more than that.”

Vegni applauded Contador’s decision to attempt the Giro-Tour double and expressed the wish that more contenders follow suit rather than choose between the two races, as has been the norm in recent seasons.

“This idea floated by Alberto is right, I think, not because the Giro d’Italia needs to counter the power of the Tour, but simply because it’s in line with what the people want,” Vegni said. “People want to see the best riders competing on all terrains. For a few years, the riders who have done the Giro haven’t gone to the Tour, and vice-versa.

“We’d like to see everybody at the same level, doing the same races. We’d recreate the duels that made the history of this sport. It’s clear that it’s more in the interest of the Giro than the Tour to advance this idea, but I believe it would be good for the people.”

Last month, Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov challenged Sky, Astana and Movistar to send Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana to both the Giro and the Tour next year. On Monday, he told Cyclingnews that Tinkoff Bank would put up €1 million as an incentive for them to join Contador at both races.

“I don’t want to say the same thing because it would seem hollow but if a challenge were created with a special prize, we’d do our part,” Vegni said.

While the Giro brands itself as the “toughest race in the world’s most beautiful place,” RCS Sport has made efforts to temper some of its extremes since Angelo Zomegnan’s tenure as race director came to an end in 2011. For the second year running, the 2015 Giro will see a reduction in transfers between stages, with Vegni estimating the total distance to be in the region of 800 kilometres.

“In recent years, we’ve had fewer transfers. It’s difficult but more human, because it’s not true that a difficult race is an inhuman one,” he said. “I’ll probably be criticised for not having enough of southern Italy in the course but covering all 20 regions is impossible. When you reach 13 or 14, you’ve done the most you can. We’re starting in the north and have to finish there, so we couldn’t do more than that without putting in big transfers.”

The long time trial to Valdobbiadene and the mountainous final week stand out as highlights of the 2015 Giro route, but Vegni said that there was no lone stage where the race would be won and lost. “You win this Giro every day, by gathering a little more hay in the barn, because every day is a hard day and you always have to be alert,” he said. “The first week has almost 10,000m of altitude gain, which means that if you’re not careful you’ll start the second week already three or four minutes down on GC.”

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