The Triple Crown of Cycling is a term used in road bicycle racing to denote the achievement of winning three major titles in the same season, usually but not always the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the UCI World Road Race Championship.
It is considered by many fans of the sport to be the greatest 'single' achievement in cycling. Although mostly it means winning the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the Road World Cycling Championship in one calendar year,occasionally a broader definition is also seen where the victory in the Giro d'Italia can be exchanged for the Vuelta a España; this alternative has gained traction as the Vuelta, historically the least prestigious Grand Tour, has gained in reputation and importance. A hat-trick which did not include the Tour de France and the World title would not generally be considered as the Triple Crown.
So far, the triple crown of cycling (in both the narrower and the broader definition) has been achieved by only two cyclists, Eddy Merckx and Stephen Roche. Requiring a cyclist who is excellent as both a general classification rider, and a classics racer, it is considered the hardest achievement professional road bicycle racing in the same year.
Despite the prestige of the achievement, the Triple Crown of cycling is not an official title, and there is no physical award given for its accomplishment.
The Triple Crown has only been achieved twice (both times by winning Giro/Tour/Worlds):
|Eddy Merckx (BEL)||1974||Tour + Giro + WC|
|Stephen Roche (IRL)||1987||Tour + Giro + WC|
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.
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 and Ferdi Kübler of Switzerland. 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.
Ireland's Stephen Roche won the Giro and Tour in 1987. Later that year, with victory at the World road race championship in Villach in Austria, Roche became only the second to win the Triple Crown of Cycling.
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||DNE|
|Jacques Anquetil (FRA)||1963||Tour + Vuelta||14th place|
|Jacques Anquetil (FRA)||1964||Tour + Giro||7th place|
|Eddy Merckx (BEL)||1970||Tour + Giro||29th place|
|Eddy Merckx (BEL)||1972||Tour + Giro||4th place|
|Eddy Merckx (BEL)||1973||Giro + Vuelta||4th place|
|Bernard Hinault (FRA)||1978||Tour + Vuelta||5th place|
|Giovanni Battaglin (ITA)||1981||Giro + Vuelta||26th place|
|Bernard Hinault (FRA)||1982||Tour + Giro||DNF|
|Bernard Hinault (FRA)||1985||Tour + Giro||DNF|
|Miguel Indurain (ESP)||1992||Tour + Giro||6th place|
|Miguel Indurain (ESP)||1993||Tour + Giro||2nd place|
|Marco Pantani (ITA)||1998||Tour + Giro||DNE|
|Alberto Contador (ESP)||2008||Giro + Vuelta||DNF|
|Chris Froome (GBR)||2017||Tour + Vuelta||DNE|
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|
|Alfredo Binda (ITA)||1927||Giro||Tour: DNE||Vuelta: NA|
|Georges Speicher (FRA)||1933||Tour||Giro: DNE||Vuelta: NA|
|Fausto Coppi (ITA)||1953||Giro||Tour: DNE||Vuelta: NA|
|Louison Bobet (FRA)||1954||Tour||Giro: DNE||Vuelta: NA|
|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|
Only seven riders have won the equivalent of a career Triple Crown, meaning two different grand tours and a Gold in the world championship road race. In addition to Merckx and Roche who won the triple crown in a single season they are Coppi, Janssen, Gimondi, Hinault and Zoetemelk.
Riders who have won at least two gold medals and three grand tours include Merckx, Greg LeMond and Alfredo Binda.
No rider has ever won all three grand tours in a single calendar year although Chris Froome and Jacques Anquetil won all three grand tours in just over nine months spanning two calendar years.
Winning all three grand tours (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España ) in a career is sometimes called a grand tour career triple crown, although more usually it would be described as a career grand slam.
Only seven riders have achieved this feat, and only one, Eddy Merckx has achieved both a classic Triple Crown and a career clean sweep of Grand Tour titles (He also achieved a career clean sweep of Monument classics, the 5 most prestigious one-day classic races).
Only Bernard Hinault and Alberto Contador have achieved multiple career grand tour triple crowns, both having won each race at least twice.
In bold the win that achieved a grand tour career triple crown.
designates a World Championship winner.
|Cyclist||Tour de France wins||Giro d'Italia wins||Vuelta a España wins|
|Jacques Anquetil (FRA)||1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964||1960, 1964||1963|
|Felice Gimondi (ITA)||1965||1967, 1969, 1976||1968|
|Eddy Merckx (BEL)||1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974||1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974||1973|
|Bernard Hinault (FRA)||1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1985||1980 , 1982, 1985||1978, 1983|
|Alberto Contador (ESP)||2007, 2009||2008, 2015||2008 , 2012, 2014|
|Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)||2014||2013, 2016||2010|
|Chris Froome (GBR)||2013, 2015, 2016, 2017||2018||2011, 2017|
The definition of Triple Crown of Cycling can also mean winning all three Grand Tours in the same year.As of 2021, this has not been achieved. Only 39 times has a cyclist finished all three grand tours in one year, and of these 39 only Raphaël Géminiani (in 1955) and Gastone Nencini (in 1957) managed to finish in the top ten in each tour. In 2016, Alejandro Valverde was close to accomplishing the same feat – he finished 3rd in the Giro d'Italia, 6th in the Tour de France, and was in the top three after the first half of the Vuelta of Spain, but lost 11 minutes in the 14th stage before recovering to finish in 12th place in overall standings, less than 2 minutes behind 10th place.
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.
While no rider has ever won all three grand tours in a single calendar year, three riders have won the three Grand tours consecutively across two seasons, thus holding ''all the jerseys'' at one time.
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.
Chris Froome won three consecutive grand tours in 2017–2018: Tour 2017, Vuelta 2017 and Giro 2018 before finishing 3rd in Tour 2018.
As of 2016, 39 riders completed all three grand tours in the same year:
|1||1955||Raphaël Géminiani (Fra)||6°||4°||3°|
|2||1955||Louis Caput (Fra)||54°||68°||21°|
|3||1955||Bernardo Ruiz (Esp)||22°||28°||14°|
|4||1956||Arrigo Padovan (Ita)||26°||12°||19°|
|5||1956||José Serra (Esp)||81°||26°||9°|
|6||1956||Bernardo Ruiz (Esp)||70°||38°||31°|
|7||1957||Gastone Nencini (Ita)||6°||1°||9°|
|8||1957||Mario Baroni (Ita)||53°||74°||46°|
|9||1957||Bernardo Ruiz (Esp)||24°||55°||3°|
|10||1958||Pierino Baffi (Ita)||63°||23°||26°|
|11||1958||Federico Bahamontès (Esp)||8°||17°||6°|
|12||1971||José Manuel Fuente (Esp)||72°||39°||26°|
|13||1971||José Luis Uribezubia (Esp)||49°||29°||36°|
|14||1985||Philippe Poissonnier (Fra)||90°||86°||66°|
|15||1987||Marino Lejarreta (Esp)||10°||4°||26°|
|16||1988||Luis Javier Lukin (Esp)||82°||32°||26°|
|17||1989||Marino Lejarreta (Esp)||5°||10°||20°|
|18||1990||Eduardo Chozas (Esp)||6°||11°||33°|
|19||1990||Marino Lejarreta (Esp)||5°||7°||26°|
|20||1991||Eduardo Chozas (Esp)||11°||10°||11°|
|21||1991||Iñaki Gastón (Esp)||61°||23°||14°|
|22||1991||Marco Giovannetti (Ita)||30°||8°||18°|
|23||1991||Alberto Leanizbarrutia (Esp)||39°||64°||40°|
|24||1991||Marino Lejarreta (Esp)||53°||5°||3°|
|25||1991||Vladimir Pulnikov (Ukr)||88°||11°||26°|
|26||1991||Valerio Tebaldi (Ita)||89°||47°||87°|
|27||1992||Guido Bontempi (Ita)||75°||40°||62°|
|28||1992||Neil Stephens (Aus)||74°||57°||66°|
|29||1999||Mariano Piccoli (Ita)||50°||38°||58°|
|30||2001||Jon Odriozola (Esp)||69°||59°||83°|
|31||2005||Giovanni Lombardi (Ita)||118°||88°||115°|
|32||2006||Carlos Sastre (Esp)||3°||43°||4°|
|33||2007||Mario Aerts (Bel)||70°||20°||27°|
|34||2008||Marzio Bruseghin (Ita)||26°||3°||10°|
|35||2008||Erik Zabel (Ger)||42°||80°||49°|
|36||2009||Julian Dean (Nzl)||121°||136°||132°|
|37||2010||Carlos Sastre (Esp)||18°||8°||8°|
|38||2011||Sebastian Lang (Ger)||111°||55°||76°|
|39||2012||Adam Hansen (Aus)||81°||94°||123°|
|40||2013||Adam Hansen (Aus)||72°||72°||60°|
|41||2014||Adam Hansen (Aus)||64°||73°||53°|
|42||2015||Adam Hansen (Aus)||77°||114°||55°|
|43||2015||Sylvain Chavanel (Fra)||36°||54°||47°|
|44||2016||Alejandro Valverde (Esp)||6°||3°||12°|
|45||2016||Adam Hansen (Aus)||68°||100°||110°|
|46||2017||Adam Hansen (Aus)||93°||113°||95°|
|47||2019||Thomas De Gendt (Bel)||51°||60°||56°|
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