Congratulations to Russia's Denis Menchov, a worthy winner of the Giro d'Italia. Can he go one better and take out the Tour De France? I don't think so!
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

Congratulations to Denis Menchov for taking out the Giro d'Italia's
centenary, but can he complete a rare Giro-Tour double?

I don't think so!
There's no doubt the Russian deserves all the accolades he gets for
producing such an inspired performance over the last three weeks.
The way he defended the leader's jersey was legendary.
From the time he pulled it off the shoulders of Danilo di Luca in the stage
12 time trialwill go down as part of Grand Tour folklore.
Mind you, his dream almost became a nightmare at the end didn't it?
I'm sure Danilo di Luca wouldn't have wanted to win the race had the
Rabobank captainnot been able to continue after crashing on the cobblesin the
final metres.
Menchov has never won the Tour and to expect him to back-up and conquer the
French roads would be madness.
Quite franklyI don't think it's possible for such an achievementin the
modern world of professional cycling.
The Giro's centenary has been a gruelling testto say the least.
The stages over the Dolomites and the Alps in the first week were simply
incredible and I'msure the big mountainswould have taken out a lot of those
aiming for overall honours.
My guess is Michael Rogers may have suffered from such a taxing campaign
and whether he can back up in France next month will be most interesting.
I'm wondering what Cadel Evans makes of the Giro's wash-up as he viewed the
race from his comfort of base in Switzerland?
By not appearing in Italy, I now believeCadel can go close to winning the
Tour.
While the Giro combatants are licking their wounds, Cadel willprepare
forthe TdF full of freshness and zest.
The three week lay-off will do him the world of good, to the point where I
feel he should start as a pre-Tour favourite along with Alberto Contador, who
also decided to skip the Giro this year.
While all eyes will be on the form of Menchov, Sastre, Armstrong,
Leipheimer and co, I'm tipping the battle lines at the Tour could well come down
to an Aussie-Spanish showdown.
Marco Pantani was the last man to conquer both the Giro and Tour
double.
But the world of cycling has changed dramatically since 1998.
Although there are a select few who might believe otherwise, the sport is
very much cleaner in 2009 - to the point where I feel it's virtually impossible
for riders to successfully complete back-to-back Grand Tours.
There are many who also feel Cadel's hopes of winning the Tour ended last
year.
And all this talk about not having a strong team is rubbish!
Make no mistake, he'll have a very strong presence around him.
I'll elaborate on the make-up of the Silence-Lotto team closer to the start
of the Tour.
It's just too badserious injury will preventfellow Aussie Matt Lloyd
fromsupporting him.
Cadel versus Alberto: It's got a real heavyweight ring to it - don't you
think?