International Sport > Cycling > CONTADOR BACKS FROOME FOR TOUR-GIRO DOUBLE

CONTADOR BACKS FROOME FOR TOUR-GIRO DOUBLE

Alberto Contador has backed Chris Froome to become the first man since Marco Pantani in 1998 to claim a Tour de France-Giro d'Italia double.

The difficult double is one of a number of targets for Froome ahead of the Saturday's opening stage, the Team Sky rider also looking to secure a record-equalling fifth crown and fourth successive Grand Tour.

Froome's stunning victory at the Giro saw him complete the triple crown, but means he heads into the Tour with less rest time than his general classification rivals.

Contador acknowledges recovery time will be key for Froome, and believes the Briton can achieve the double.

"The most important thing is to rest," Contador told Omnisport. "Everything depends on how the Giro was either you had to take responsibility or not.

"I remember when I tried I had to take a lot of responsibility as I was leading since fifth stage. I didn't have a great team and strong one.

"There was Astana then in 2015, which was really strong. They left me alone everyday with 50-60 kilometres to go. That made me to work a lot every day and I finished that Giro really tired.

"That didn't help me to rest and get ready for the Tour of France.

"He [Froome] will have really good chances of winning the double this year because he will have a great team with him.

"We have to see how hard the Giro was for him too. A good point for him, and [Tom] Dumoulin too for example, is this year there is one week more between races because of the World Cup.

"It seems it's just one week but I can tell you it's important. It will be positive for Froome although I can say it's a huge challenge.

"We will see how he has recovered from Giro's efforts. I think, to be honest, that it's possible to win the double."

Froome – who was cleared on Monday of any wrongdoing by the UCI following an anti-doping investigation – is rightly the favourite, according to Contador, but a former team-mate could pose a threat.

"I think is one of the more open Tour we have seen last years," added the Spaniard. "If I had to say a favourite I would say Froome because he has won it last years and he knows how to cope with that.

"There are many riders with good chances. Let's see Richie Porte and how he can deal with the flat stages and the falls, so we will be able to see his potential.

"We will see a strong Movistar Team with many choices within the team. I think it's a special Tour this year. It's really open."

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