Chris Froome 'unlikely' to race Giro d'Italia with Tour de France his 2017 priority

Despite expressing his approval of the Giro d’Italia 2017 route Chris Froome has said it is unlikely that he will be on the start line of the Italian race next season.

Speaking on the eve of the Saitama Criterium, having just touched down in Japan a few hours earlier, Froome told a small group of reporters that the Giro d’Italia was, “certainly an interesting route and a more balanced route that you’d expect in a Grand Tour, with a balance in the time trials and the big mountain stages. It’s definitely going to be an exciting race.

“Whether I’m going to be there who knows. I think that it’s unlikely given that my focus is still the Tour but I’m definitely not going to rule it out.”

Froome has made no secret of his admiration of the Giro route in the past but ever since he has focused on the Tour de France the three time winner has opted to skip Italy’s premiere race.

One option could see Froome tackle the Giro and Tour de France double in the same year. However, no rider has won both in the same season since Marco Pantani in 1998, while Froome’s great rival Alberto Contador saw his 2015 challenge unravel after a punishing Giro left him with little in the reserve come July.

When asked by Cyclingnews if he could take on the double at some point, the three-time Tour winner replied: “That’s a good question. We’ve not really come up with a programme yet for next year. That will happen in the next few weeks. I’ll sit down with the team, with Tim Kerrison and come up with a strategy for next year.”

At this stage it is likely that Froome will attempt to defend his Tour de France title with the French Grand Tour his main priority. His admiration for the Giro route was not as pronounced when describing the Tour’s equivalent.

“Now that I’ve had the chance to digest the Tour route a bit more, obviously it’s very light on time trial kilometres. That means the race will be in the mountains but saying that, with only three mountain top finishes it gives very few opportunities for the GC guys to race it out. I’m not sure how it’s going to pan out. I hope it’s going to be an exciting race but it seems like there will be very few GC battles.”

As for the Giro, he added: “It looks like a great route, especially with it being the 100th route but I’m not going to rule anything out. I know that being ready for the Tour and doing the Giro is challenging.”

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