Triple Crown of Cycling

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The Triple Crown of Cycling is considered[by whom?] the greatest achievement in cycling. Although more definitions for the term are used, mostly it means winning the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and the Road World Cycling Championship in one year,[1] although occasionally a broader definition where one grand tour can be exchanged for the Vuelta a España is also seen.[2] So far, the triple crown of cycling (in both the narrow and the broad definition) has been achieved by two cyclists, Eddy Merckx and Stephen Roche. It is considered the hardest title to win in professional road bicycle racing in the same year.[3] The triple crown of cycling is not an official title, and there is no physical award given.

Triple crowns won[edit]

The Triple Crown has only been achieved twice (both times by winning Giro/Tour/Worlds):[1]

Rider Year Races
 Eddy Merckx (BEL) 1974 Tour + Giro + WC
 Stephen Roche (IRL) 1987 Tour + Giro + WC

Near wins[edit]

Some cyclists have been close to winning the triple crown of cycling, winning two of the three requirements. Among those who came close are Italian Fausto Coppi, Frenchman Bernard Hinault, and later Spaniard Miguel Indurain, who finished second in the World Championships in 1993.

Winning two grand tours in one year[edit]

Coppi was the first rider in the history of the sport to win the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in the same year which he did twice in 1949 and 1952. At the World road race championships in 1949 Coppi came third behind Rik Van Steenbergen of Belgium. Merckx was the first rider to win the triple crown but he had already come close to winning it in 1972 when he won both the Tour and the Giro, coming fourth in the World road race. After his disappointment, Merckx broke the world hour record several weeks later.

Indurain won the Giro-Tour double in both 1992 and 1993 and in both years he was very active in the World Road Race. In 1992 he finished sixth but in 1993 Indurain was very close to winning the Triple crown when he finished second behind Lance Armstrong.

Cyclist Year Grand Tours won Result in World Championship
 Fausto Coppi (ITA) 1949 Tour + Giro 3rd place
 Fausto Coppi (ITA) 1952 Tour + Giro  ?
 Jacques Anquetil (FRA) 1963 Tour + Vuelta 14th place[4]
 Jacques Anquetil (FRA) 1964 Tour + Giro 7th place[5]
 Eddy Merckx (BEL) 1970 Tour + Giro 29th place[6]
 Eddy Merckx (BEL) 1972 Tour + Giro 4th place[7]
 Eddy Merckx (BEL) 1973 Giro + Vuelta 4th place[8]
 Bernard Hinault (FRA) 1978 Tour + Vuelta 5th place[9]
 Giovanni Battaglin (ITA) 1981 Giro + Vuelta 26th place[10]
 Bernard Hinault (FRA) 1982 Tour + Giro  ?
 Bernard Hinault (FRA) 1985 Tour + Giro  ?
 Miguel Indurain (ESP) 1992 Tour + Giro 6th place
 Miguel Indurain (ESP) 1993 Tour + Giro 2nd place
 Marco Pantani (ITA) 1998 Tour + Giro [11]
 Alberto Contador (ESP) 2008 Giro + Vuelta DNF[12]

Winning one grand tour and world championship in one year[edit]

Hinault was aiming for winning the triple crown during the 1980 season. That year he won the 1980 Giro d'Italia before going on to the 1980 Tour de France. However during the Tour, Hinault suffered from knee injury and despite winning three stages, he left the race while leading the general classification. Several weeks later he became world champion in Salanches. In the table below are the results in other grand tours of cyclists who won the world championship and a grand tour in one year. DNF (did not finish) indicates that the cyclist started the race, but did not finish; DNE (did not enter) indicates that the cyclist did not enter the race.

Cyclist Year Grand tour won Result in other grand tours
 Fausto Coppi (ITA) 1940 Giro Tour: DNE Vuelta: NA[13]
 Georges Speicher (FRA) 1933 Tour Giro: DNE Vuelta: NA[13]
 Fausto Coppi (ITA) 1953 Giro Tour: DNE Vuelta: NA[13]
 Louison Bobet (FRA) 1954 Tour Giro: DNE Vuelta: NA[13]
 Ercole Baldini (ITA) 1958 Giro Tour: DNE Vuelta: DNE
 Eddy Merckx (BEL) 1971 Tour Giro: DNE Vuelta: DNE
 Bernard Hinault (FRA) 1980 Giro Tour: DNF Vuelta: DNE
 Greg LeMond (USA) 1989 Tour Giro: 39th place Vuelta: DNE

Other definitions[edit]

Winning all three grand tours in a career[edit]

Winning all three grand tours (Tour de France, Vuelta a España and Giro d'Italia) in a career is sometimes named grand tour triple crown.[14]

In bold the win that achieved the triple crown

Cyclist Tour de France wins Vuelta a España wins Giro d'Italia wins
 Jacques Anquetil (FRA) 1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964 1963 1960, 1964
 Felice Gimondi (ITA) 1965 1968 1967, 1969, 1976
 Eddy Merckx (BEL) 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974 1973 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974
 Bernard Hinault (FRA) 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1985 1978, 1983 1980, 1982, 1985
 Alberto Contador (ESP) 2007, 2009 2008, 2012, 2014 2008
 Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) 2014 2010 2013

Winning all three grand tours in one year[edit]

The definition for Triple Crown of Cycling can also mean winning all three Grand Tours in the same year.[15] As of 2014, this has never been achieved; only 39 times has a cyclist finished the three grand tours in one year. Of those 39 who completed 3 tours in one year, only Raphaël Geminiani and Gastone Nencini managed to finish top ten each tour.[16] In 2010, Alberto Contador's new team manager Bjarne Riis claimed that Contador could win all three grand tours in the same year, but his main rival Andy Schleck said it would be impossible.[17]

Eddy Merckx won four consecutive grand tours in 1972–1973: Giro 1972, Tour 1972, Vuelta 1973 and Giro 1973. Bernard Hinault won three consecutive grand tours in 1982–1983: Giro 1982, Tour 1982 and Vuelta 1983. These two champions did not claim the triple crown in a calendar year.

Completing all three grand tours in one year[edit]

Cyclists who have completed all three grand tours in the same year[edit]

As of 2012 39 riders completed all three grand tours in the same year:

  • 4 times - Marino Lejarreta (Esp) - 1987 1989 1990 1991
  • 3 times - Bernardo Ruiz (Esp) - 1955 1956 1957
  • 3 times - Adam Hansen (Aus) - 2012 2013 2014
  • 2 times - Eduardo Chozas (Esp) - 1990 1991
  • 2 times - Carlos Sastre (Esp) - 2006 2010

List of riders and best placement[edit]

ID Year Rider Best placement
1 1955 Louis Caput (Fra) 54° tour
2 1955 Raphael Geminiani (Fra) 3° vuelta
3 1955 Bernardo Ruiz (Esp) 14° vuelta
4 1956 Arrigo Padovan (Ita) 12° giro
5 1956 José Serra (Esp) 9° vuelta
6 1956 Bernardo Ruiz (Esp) 31° vuelta
7 1957 Gastone Nencini (Ita) 1° giro
8 1957 Mario Baroni (Ita) 46° vuelta
9 1957 Bernardo Ruiz (Esp) 3° vuelta
10 1958 Pierino Baffi (Ita) 23° giro
11 1958 Federico Bahamontès (Esp) 6° vuelta
12 1971 José Manuel Fuente (Esp) 39° giro
13 1971 José Luis Uribezubia (Esp) 36° vuelta
14 1985 Philippe Poissonnier (Fra) 66° vuelta
15 1987 Marino Lejarreta (Esp) 4° giro
16 1988 Luis Javier Lukin (Esp) 32° giro
17 1989 Marino Lejarreta (Esp) 5° tour
18 1990 Eduardo Chozas (Esp) 6° tour
19 1990 Marino Lejarreta (Esp) 5° tour
20 1991 Eduardo Chozas (Esp) 10° giro
21 1991 Iñaki Gastón (Esp) 14° vuelta
22 1991 Marco Giovannetti (Ita) 8° giro
23 1991 Albano Leßnizbarrutia (Esp) 39° tour
24 1991 Marino Lejarreta (Esp) 3° vuelta
25 1991 Vladimir Pulnikov (Ucr) 11° giro
26 1991 Valerio Tebaldi (Ita) 47° giro
27 1992 Guido Bontempi (Ita) 40° giro
28 1992 Neil Stephens (Aus) 57° giro
29 1999 Mariano Piccoli (Ita) 38° giro
30 2001 Jon Odriozola (Esp) 58° giro
31 2005 Giovanni Lombardi (Ita) 88° giro
32 2006 Carlos Sastre (Esp) 3° vuelta
33 2007 Mario Aerts (Bel) 20° giro
34 2008 Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) 3° giro
35 2008 Erik Zabel (Ger) 40° tour
36 2009 Julian Dean (Nzl) 121° tour
37 2010 Carlos Sastre (Esp) 8° giro e vuelta
38 2011 Sebastian Lang (Ger) 56° tour
39 2012 Adam Hansen (Aus) 81° tour
40 2013 Adam Hansen (Aus) 60° tour

Winning world titles in three disciplines[edit]

After Marianne Vos had won world titles in road race (2006), cyclo-cross (2006) and indoor track points race (2008), she was said to have won the triple crown of cycling.[18]