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Tour of Spain 2022 | The Tourmalet: winning two grand tours a year is already impossible

If the general classifications for this season of the Giro, the Tour and now the Vuelta, which rests this Monday, and with a week to go, are reviewed, it is observed that no cyclist repeats in the positions of honor, something absolutely unusual since always some of the protagonists of the three great rounds by stages stood out at least in two of the three races. Right now, Jai Hindleythe winner of the Italian round, occupies tenth place in the Vuelta thanks to a breakaway, the rest are riders other than those who finished in the ‘top ten’ of the Tour and the Giro, as happened before in Italy and France.

For years no one has achieved the Giro-Tour double and only Chris Froome, who now runs for fun, located in the Spanish test more than three hours behind Remco Evenepoel, achieved victory in the Tour and in the Vuelta in 2017.

Marco Pantani, 1998

However, what is happening this year is more unusual and shows that it is currently almost impossible aspire to win two three-week races in the same year. Marco Pantani, with all the legend, positive and negative that surrounded him, was the last rider who managed to win in 1998 in Italy and France, in a year marked precisely by the scandals in a French round that has gone down in history as the doping tour.

This season the Giro has turned out to be the most boring race of the three, with hardly any attacks and with a trio of riders (Hindley, Richard Carapaz and Mikel Landa) so evenly matched and scoring constantly to the point that the victory was resolved in an attack three kilometers from the top of the Marmolada in the penultimate stage of the test. The Italian round, moreover, has for years become the race of the three with worst turnout since none of the contenders for the Tour wants to play it in Italy if this jeopardizes the fight for the yellow jersey.

Tadej Pogacar announced with much fanfare last winter that this year he would face the challenge of competing in the Tour and Vuelta, precisely with the intention of achieving the double. Two days after climbing to the second step of the podium on the Champs Elysées in Paris, he communicated his gives up running in Spain because he felt exhausted.

New tendencies

It happens that with the new trends in cycling there are runners who focus exclusively on preparing a only big race a year, even if they successfully participate and train in one-day or one-week tests. His preparation plan is absolutely unaffordable by runners who must distribute forces when running two three week races and they usually arrive exhausted at the second test. It was seen last year with Egan Bernal, who did not recover in the Vuelta from the effort that caused him to win the Giro, although two months elapsed between the two races. And it has been repeated this year, apart from Hindleywith Richard Carapaz, second in Italy, who has only been able to dedicate himself to winning two stages, which is already a lot, in the Vuelta, and Mikel Landadisappeared in the fight for the Spanish round.

Jonas Vingegaard did not even consider going to the Vuelta and his teammate Primoz Roglic, who does not give up victory, is racing in Spain because, as in his three previous victories, he has failed in his attempt to win the Giro (2019) or the Tour (2020 and the dropouts of 2021 and 2022). Enric Mas has arrived after a French round to forget and the two new jewels of Spanish cycling (Juan Ayuso and Carlos Rodríguez) have debuted in a three-week race. Trends change and it’s hard to beat a broker like Evenepoelfocused on the Vuelta, and that has come to sleep in its preparation in hypoxic chambers to simulate altitude. And so there is nothing to do.

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