Simon Yates confirms Vuelta a Espana victory in Madrid
Yates completes clean sweep for British riders in Grand Tours this season
By Matthew Treadwell
Last Updated: 17/09/18 6:09am
Simon Yates has been confirmed as the winner of the Vuelta a Espana following Sunday's processional final stage ride into Madrid.
Yates' victory means British riders have now won all three of cycling's Grand Tours this season - Team Sky's Chris Froome won the Giro d'Italia in May, while his team-mate Geraint Thomas won the Tour de France in July.
Thousands of spectators lined the streets of Madrid to cheer home Mitchelton-SCOTT rider Yates and his fellow riders home on stage 21 of the event.
Italian rider Elia Viviani won the keenly contested sprint finish to secure his third stage victory of this year's Vuelta, closely followed by Peter Sagan.
But the day belonged to Bury-born Yates, who claimed his first Grand Tour title in the Spanish capital.
Yates was in contention to win this year's Giro D'Italia only to see his bid falter after holding the race leader's pink jersey for 13 days.
The 26-year-old - who won the young rider classification at last year's Tour de France - appears to have learnt from that setback in Italy, however, as he held his nerve to claim Vuelta glory.
"It's astonishing really," said Yates. "Growing up I was so accustomed to seeing the French, Italian and Spanish riders lead the way.
"So for myself, Chris and Geraint to all win a Grand Tour in the same year just shows how far the sport has come in this country."
Froome, whose Tour-Vuelta double last year means British riders have now won five Grand Tours in a row, paid tribute to Yates' achievement.
"Simon has looked so strong over the last three weeks and it's great to see him take home the maillot rojo [red jersey]. It's been a perfect year for British riders."