As predicted a few weeks ago here on CyclingEurope.org (10 Things To Know About… La Vuelta A España), Chris Froome did indeed win the Vuelta. OK, it wasn’t a difficult prediction to make and anyway, I was merely quoting the predictions of those with greater knowledge at Cyclist.co.uk. But anyway, the call was a good one and congratulations to Mr Froome for his victory at the weekend and also for his success earlier in the summer at the Tour de France. He is one of only a handful of men to have achieved the feat of winning both events in the same year. I wonder if, in one of the remaining years of his career (he’s only 32 so there are few more seasons in his legs I’m sure) he has set his sights on the ultimate professional cycling challenge; that of winning the Tour de France, the Vuelta a España and the Giro d’Italia. As the following chart from Wikipedia (as extracted from CyclingArchives.com) shows, the Giro d’Italia has never really been Froome’s thing*…
…so it does seem unlikely that he will now turn his efforts in that direction. But who knows? Perhaps the thought of holding all three classic titles at the same time is just too tempting to turn down. Time will tell. [*Did he lose interest after his 2010 disqualification for ‘holding on to a motorbike on the Mortirolo climb‘, as reported by Cycling Weekly at the time?]
Anyway, the reason I mention all this is because of an email that arrived this morning about ‘The Three Tours Challenge‘. I recieve a good number of emails about cycling challenges and I take my hat off to those that get off their backsides, organise them and then get on the saddle to complete them. Even more so when they are being pedalled in order to raise money for good causes but, alas, not all make it onto CyclingEurope.org. The ones that do appear here tend to be a little different, or audacious and The Three Tours Challenge is most certainly audacious. Or rather it was as on Saturday 9th September the Three Tours team completed the challenge to cycle every stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España the day before it was cycled by the professionals of the peloton. That’s an extraordinary feat only ever ever attempted by 39 professional cyclists. A few quotes from the email:
Geoff Thomas today returns from leading the first ever amateur team to complete the three Grand Tours of cycling, back-to-back, for Cure Leukaemia, the charity which saved his life when he was given three months to live in 2003.
The Three Tours Challenge saw Geoff Thomas (nine caps for England, unbeaten) and three other amateur cyclists complete the Tour de France and two other cycling grand tours, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, to raise £1 million for Cure Leukaemia.
Each member of the team has burned more than one million calories in a ride of over 10,000km, an average of 167 km per day, over 63 gruelling days.
The funds are being raised for Cure Leukaemia and the expansion of their Centre for Clinical Haematology at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, doubling its capacity.
England footballer Geoff Thomas commented: “In Madrid with a glass of champagne thinking how on earth do we beat that! Right now, I’m not sure we can. I’m just so proud to be part of such a special team, achieving great things both on and off the bike.”
The fundraising continues and you can donate on the Three Tours Challenge Just Giving page.
Reggie? Any plans for next summer?
Photo credit: Dave Hayward Digital Photography
What do you think?