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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Chris Froome sets sights on 'vicious' Vuelta a Espana for historic double

No rider has won the Tour de France and the Spanish race in the same season in 22 years.

Chris Froome is possibly the best cyclist in the world after winning four Tour de France titles.
Chris Froome is possibly the best cyclist in the world after winning four Tour de France titles.

Chris Froome has set his sights on an historic double as the Tour de France champion confirmed he will race in the "vicious" Vuelta a Espana.

Froome, 32, claimed his fourth yellow jersey in Paris on Sunday and now he hopes to become the first rider in 22 years to win both the Tour and the Vuelta in the same year.

He has finished second three times in the Vuelta and believes he can go one better this time despite the formidable test provided by the Spanish race.

Romain Bardet, Fabio Aru, and Alberto Contador are all expected to ride, while Vincenzo Nibali, who missed the Tour, may also be a strong contender.

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"I've got the opportunity and I'm certainly going to go for it," Froome said on Team Sky's website. "The Vuelta is a race I love, it's vicious but it's three weeks that I enjoy.

"I've come second three times now and I'd love to win. To win both the Tour and the Vuelta in one year would be absolutely incredible."

The Vuelta is the third of cycling's three Grand Tours, along with the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.

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No British rider has ever won the Vuelta a Espana, which this year starts on August 19 in Nimes and ends on September 10 in Madrid.

Froome does not have long to recuperate but Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford believes his star rider is capable of a memorable double.

"There's no reason why not. We've got four weeks to the start of the Vuelta," Brailsford said. "We've got a couple of races in between but we'll dust ourselves down a little bit and go and do it all over again."