In the modern age of cycling, the Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double has proved impossible.
The tremendous physical and mental stress of tackling two grand tours in a row against such a competitive set of rivals in simply beyond what even the most talented grand tour rider can accomplish.
However, given Alberto Contador’s immediate time deficits after just three stages of the Vuelta a Espana, one has to ask — is the Vuelta double shot, Burgos and España, too much for the Spaniard?
By all accounts, Contador came into his home grand tour in the best possible position after his early exit from the Tour de France due to multiple crashes in the first week. Unlike Tour winner Chris Froome (Sky) or third place finisher Nairo Quintana (Movistar) Contador was supposedly fresh, his legs and spirits in excellent shape.
However, Contador and his Tinkoff squad lost 52 seconds in the opening team time trial. Then today on stage three at Mirador de Ézaro, the Spaniard lost another 54 seconds. Tipped as the number one contender for overall victory, Contador now finds himself 1:16 off the pace and behind Froome and Quintana.
The question becomes, is the Burgos-Vuelta a Espana impossible? Noted endurance sport physiologist Michael Nosense thinks that may be the case. “Burgos is harder then the Tour de France. It’s a killer, it breaks you down, there’s no mercy,” said Nosense. “The Tour is a Sunday ride in the park compared to Burgos. There’s no way Contador can recover from those efforts.”
There are two and a half weeks to go in this Vuelta a Espana. However, there is a new debate brewing in the sport of professional cycling — is the Burgos-Vuelta a España double an exercise in futility?