Chris Froome wins Giro d'Italia to claim Grand Tour treble

An exhausted George Bennett recovers after completing the gruelling stage 19 at the Giro d'Italia

An exhausted George Bennett recovers after completing the gruelling stage 19 at the Giro d'Italia

This is the third year in a row the race leader's pink jersey has changed hands in the final three days, with the first of that run won by Vincenzo Nibali who had, like Froome, been nearly five minutes down inside the final week.

The four-time Tour de France victor put himself on the brink of victory in the 20th and penultimate stage when he led Dumoulin by 46 seconds.

Froome won the Tour de France and Spanish Vuelta past year and now can add a third straight Grand Tour title with the Giro.

He won the stage by three minutes over second-placed Richard Carapaz (Movistar) and finished it in the maglia rosa, 40 seconds clear of Dumoulin.

"Obviously the next challenge for me has got to be the Tour de France", Froome added. "As I said, when the time is right, all the information will be shared with everyone and I'm sure people will see it from my point of view".

"Colle delle Finestre was the ideal place to do it. Gravel roads remind me of Africa", added Froome, who races for Britain with Team Sky but was born and raised in Kenya.

It was a bit of consolation for the Mitchelton-Scott team, whose leader, Simon Yates, lost the pink jersey a day earlier.

Froome's maiden Giro triumph has also set up the possibility he could target a rare Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double in the same calendar year - last achieved by Italian rider Marco Pantani in 1998.

But he started to climb back up the standings by winning Stage 14 up Monte Zoncolan — one of the toughest climbs in Europe — then erased more than a three-minute deficit and claimed the pink jersey with his attack on the Colle delle Finestre. The demands of the race are so different than any other race. Few believed in Froome's victory chances as the race headed into its second half.

Froome provided an adverse analytical finding in his urine for double the permitted amount of the asthma drug salbutamol when he won the Tour of Spain previous year.

"I know I've done nothing wrong", he said after lifting the Giro trophy Sunday. He had even crashed ahead of the first stage in Israel.

Like the Champs-Élysées stage at the Tour, the route will mainly use roads surfaced with smooth city centre cobbles and will take in numerous famous monuments such as the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, and the Spanish Steps.

Froome crossed seventh alongside teammate Wout Poels and immediately shook hands with his fellow Team Sky member.

Still, it remains unclear when the International Cycling Union will rule on the case, which could result in a lengthy ban.

Ireland's Sam Bennett sprinted to victory in the 21st and final stage, his third win of this year's race, after pipping four-stage victor Elia Viviani at the line.

Froome said he plans to take a short break with his wife Michelle, who is pregnant with their second child, before returning to altitude to prepare for the Tour de France, which runs from July 7-29.

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