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Eddy Merckx backs Chris Froome to win Giro-Tour double

Merckx, who who the Giro-Tour double three times, regards Froome as the 'complete rider'

Eddy Merckx, in many respects the greatest professional cyclist of all time, has stated that he believes Chris Froome will win the Giro-Tour double and regards the Team Sky leader as a 'complete rider.'

Merckx's backing came after Froome finally confirmed rumours that he will ride the Giro d'Italia in 2018 before going for a fifth Tour de France title in July.

Speaking to City AM, the Belgian said that Froome 'can win both. I don’t know why he can’t win the Tour' after taking on the Giro.

If Froome does win the Giro d'Italia, which is scheduled to start in Israel on Friday 4th May 2018, he will become the first rider in the modern era to hold all three Grand Tour titles simultaneously – although not in one calendar year.

This is a result of him claiming back to back wins at the 2017 Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana. 

Along with Stephen Roche's stellar 1987 season, Merckx is one of only two riders to have won cycling's Triple Crown when he took the Giro, Tour and Road World Championships in 1974.

But with Froome riding next year's Giro he surely now stands a real chance of joining them, given that next year's Worlds is over a hilly course in Innsbruck, Austria, ascending a huge 5,000m over 265km.

Even then, Froome claiming his own Triple Crown would be a monumental achievement, as it would mean not only seeing off fierce challenges at two Grand Tours but also considerably outperforming his previous best in one-day races too.

Trying to stop him along the way will be 2017 Giro d'Italia winner Tom Dumoulin, but whether the Dutchman opts to defend his title, have a tilt at the Tour de France or go up against Froome at both we won't know until at least the Team Sunweb presentation in January.