Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Chris Froome is on the hunt for more cycling history, as he seeks to become only the third man to win the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana in the same year.
The Team Sky rider wrapped up the first leg of this potential Grand Tour double last month, as he won his fourth Tour. Now attentions will turn to the Vuelta, where he has finished as the runner-up on three separate occasions.
Should he take overall victory, Froome will join Jacques Anquetil (1963) and Bernard Hinault (1973) to win both events in the same season. Longstanding rivals like Vincenzo Nibali, Alberto Contador and Fabio Aru will not make things easy for the Englishman, though.
Read on for the vital viewing information ahead of the Vuelta, the prize money details for the race and a preview of the final Grand Tour of 2017.
Date: August 19 – September 10
TV Info: Eurosport (UK), NBC Sports (U.S.)
Live Stream: Eurosport Player (UK), NBC Sports Gold (U.S.)
The winner of the general classification wins €150,000 of a total prize pool of €1,120,230. The purse for a stage win is €11,000.
For full details of the prize money on offer and stage details visit the competition’s official website.
LIONEL BONAVENTURE/Getty Images
With the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France ahead of it in the calendar, the Vuelta is often the most overlooked of the three Grand Tour events. But given what is on the line for Froome here, this race should be one to remember.
Froome will be the focus, and based on his displays at the Tour, he has to be considered the favourite.
“It certainly feels as if I’ve got unfinished business at the Vuelta a Espana. Having finished second three times now, it would just be incredible to win the Vuelta,” said Froome, per Sky Sports. “It’s a relentless race, the course is always a lot more mountainous than the Tour de France, the conditions are tougher being mid-August in Spain.”
As noted by journalist Laura Meseguer, not only do Sky have an outstanding team leader in Froome, they’ll be taking a brilliant supporting cast to Spain:
Laura Meseguer @Laura_Meseguer
Very strong Team Sky for #LV2017:
The course will pose a fascinating challenge for Froome. Typically he takes time out of his general classification rivals on the individual time trial, although there’s only one of those at the Vuelta this year.
There are also nine summit finishes, and while this has typically been an area of strength for Froome, his rivals will think back to his struggles on the ascension into Peyragudes on Stage 12 of the Tour; Romain Bardet and Aru both rode away from the Brit on a brutal climax there.
LUK BENIES/Getty Images
Both of those will hope to beat Froome to the red jersey this year, although his biggest challenge may come from Nibali, who skipped the Tour and should be one of the fresher men in the peloton.
Cycling journalist David Hunter noted how versatile the Italian is in Grand Tours and said he’s looked in good shape in the buildup:
Bahrain-all about Nibali and no bloody wonder. Wrote my preview today and called Nibali the most complete grand tour rider of his generation
Some of Froome’s Tour rivals will also be seeking revenge when they face off on some testing climbs in Spain.
Aru was lively in the early stages in France, although he faded badly later in the Tour. It’ll be interesting to see what condition both he and Bardet are in after putting so much into their respective battles for the yellow jersey; the latter, in particular, looked spent after the final time trial, clinging on to his podium spot by a second.
FRANCK FAUGERE/Getty Images
Cycling journalist Mihai Cazacu suggested the Frenchman has been making steady progress over the last year, though:
Mihai Cazacu @faustocoppi60
Bardet pretty much at the same level as last year. I would say that he’s a little bit stronger now, he accelerated more often.
It’d doubtful as to whether that development will be enough for him to challenge Froome in Spain. Other potential rivals may come in the form of Ilnur Zakarin and Adam Yates, who won the white jersey for the best young rider at the Tour in 2016.
But even with a fourth Tour de France win in his legs, it’s tough to see past Froome putting together a history-making campaign. The Briton seemed to be peaking towards the end of his three weeks in France, and that’s an ominous proposition for the rest of the peloton.