Chris Froome is shaking things up in 2018 with an audacious attempt at the Giro d'Italia - Tour de France double, and that also means a shake-up to his race calendar. The four-time Tour de France champion is set to ride Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of the Alps in the build-up to the Giro, gaining experience on Italian roads.
Froome has kicked off his last two seasons in Australia in January but, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, he will opt for a debut in Europe in February next year. Froome last did so in 2015 when he raced the Vuelta a Andalucía, as he did in 2011. That or the Volta ao Algarve would seem to be the main options.
Froome would then race Tirreno-Adriatico in early March, a key stepping stone to the Giro. He has only raced the Italian week-long race once before, in 2013, when he won at the Prati di Tivo summit finish and finished second overall behind Vincenzo Nibali.
In April he faces a choice between the Tour of the Alps and the Tour of Croatia, though Cyclingnews understands he will more than likely line up at the former, with Team Sky traditionally using the four-stage race, formerly known as the Giro del Trentino, as build-up for their Giro d'Italia leader. The British team has won the past three editions of the race, through Geraint Thomas, Mikel Landa, and Richie Porte, respectively, and before that Bradley Wiggins finished fifth ahead of his ill-dated tilt at the Giro.
The trip would also allow Froome and colleagues to stay on and recon some of the key stages of the 2018 Giro d'Italia, including the crucial stage 16 time trial from Trento to Revereto, and the key mountain passes of the final week, which should be open after the winter.
Froome's 2018 build-up to the Giro, then, is set to include a stage race in February, March, and April, ahead of the Giro in May, as he looks to strike the balance between finding form for the Giro but leaving himself fresh enough to move on to the Tour de France. Those months are also likely to include a foray or two to Mount Teide on Tenerife, where Team Sky habitually go for altitude training.
There is an extra week between the Giro and Tour in 2018 - a key factor in Froome's decision to take on the double - though it is unclear at this point how he plans to approach that gulf that has proved treacherous to others in the past.