Chris Froome has announced he will attempt to win a third successive Grand Tour by racing in the 2018 Giro d’Italia.

The British star claimed the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana in 2017 to set up the tantalising prospect of a hat-trick.

Froome has not even ridden the Giro d’Italia for the past seven years, focusing his preparations instead on the Tour de France which he has won four times in the past five seasons.

But the 32-year-old has admitted he simply could not turn down the chance of making it three in a row in Italy next year. 

“It’s a unique situation for me, having won the Tour and Vuelta and now having the opportunity to go to the Giro and attempt to win a third consecutive Grand Tour,” he said.

“It’s really exciting to be able to take on a new challenge, to do something that perhaps people wouldn’t expect and to mix it up. 

“It’s a whole new motivation for me to see if I can pull off something special next year.

Froome is confident his efforts in the Giro will not hamper his dreams of claiming a fifth Tour de France title which would take him level with legends Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurain, Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil. 

“We know that it would be a significant feat in the modern era to win both the Giro and the Tour in the same season, but the way we managed things this year gives me confidence that I can successfully target both races,” the Team Sky leader said.

“Another factor is that there is an extra week between next year’s Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. That’s one more week for recovery and for training than there would be normally, which I think potentially makes it more manageable and conducive to being able to hit both races in great shape.

“The way we managed that period from the Tour through to the Vuelta this season was a great learning experience for us and hopefully something that will stand me in good stead for 2018.”

Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford knows it will be a big test of physical and mental strength for Froome to go for victories in both the Giro and Tour in 2018.

“Some of the very best riders have attempted to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in the same season but very few have been successful, so it’s a challenge we have enormous respect for,” he said.

“But it’s challenges like this that speak to what we’re about as a team – setting ambitious targets, preparing for them properly and being ready to put it all on the line.”