Chris Froome will target the 2018 Giro d’Italia, Team Sky have confirmed, as the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana champion bids to seal a hat-trick of successive Grand Tour wins.

Having already sealed the Tour de France-Vuelta a Espana double this year, becoming the first rider ever to win the Tour and go on to win the Vuelta afterwards, he will now bid to add the maglia rosa to his collection.

Froome has not raced the Giro since 2010, when he was disqualified for holding on to a police moto as he prepared to abandon the race anyway because of a knee injury.

However, he will now bid to become only the third rider – after Eddy Merckx (1972-73) and Bernard Hinault (1982-83) to win three consecutive Grand Tours.

And he says the change in focus will serve as a huge motivation for both him and the team.

Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France, 2017, pic- Sirotti

Chris Froome, Team Sky, Tour de France, 2017, pic- Sirotti

“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.

“I feel as if my cycling career started in Italy in some ways. I lived there for three years when I began my career as a professional, so having the opportunity to go back to the Giro in the position I am now in, and with the opportunity I have, feels in some ways like completing a circle."

Froome has also insisted he will target the Giro-Tour double in 2018 – 20 years after the last time it was achieved, by Marco Pantani.

While accepting it will be a huge challenge – particularly in light of Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador’s recent unsuccessful double attempts – Froome says winning the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana in the same season has given him confidence to target it.

“It’s something the team have considered carefully and we’ve talked about a lot," he said. 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.

“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."

Froome is the first man to win the Tour de France and then go on to win the Vuelta a Espana in the same year, and only the third man to do the double in the same season after Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault (who both achieved their doubles when the V

Chris Froome, Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana, Grand Tour double, red jersey, Team Sky, podium, 2017, pic - Sirotti

Froome’s announcement came on the day the route for the 101st Giro d’Italia was announced, with two individual time trials and eight summit finishes included on a route that starts in Jerusalem and Friday May 4 and concludes in Rome on Sunday May 27.