I'm currently looking for a road bike for my wife, and really leaning toward a cross bike for a few reasons - 1 it's what I ride on the road so I'm familiar with it, 2 she will definitley want fenders on it, 3 it will get ridden on cinder and gravel paths at times.
I really want to get her a bike with a triple -- we live up a pretty decent hill (~1.2 mile 6% climb) and on the old MTB with slicks she's currently riding on the road, she's using the easiest or next to easiest gear. She'll get stronger, but I think she will always need a 30 or 32 up front.
Went to one LBS this past weekend and she rode a Tricross Sport with Sora triple, then for comparison a Dolce (not a cross bike) with Apex.
I had hopes for the Apex. She completely hated it - just didnt' like the double tap. So even though I"m sure she'd be fine with it after riding a bit, I'm going to stay away from SRAM.
But it seems like there are very few Cross bikes with triples out there, and the ones that do have triples seem to be Sora. She actually really like the thumb shifter over the paddle (she'd tried it on my Tricross Comp with 105), but at ~ $1,250 the TC Sport seems pretty pricey for a Sora equipped ride.
Any other suggestions (besides building from frame up) for a triple equipped cross bike?