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Simon Yates wins Vuelta and seals unique treble for British riders

Mitchelton-Scott rider is third British Grand Tour winner of 2018; final stage in Madrid goes to Elia Viviani

Simon Yates has this evening been confirmed as the winner of the 73rd edition of the Vuelta a Espana. His victory completes a unique treble for British cyclists, with no other nation having ever produced three different winners of cycling’s three Grand Tours since the Spanish race made its debut in 1935.

Today’s processional 112.3-kilometre stage from Alcorcon to Madrid was won by Quick Step Floors rider Elia Viviani, with Bora-Hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan second and Giacomo Nizzolo of Trek-Segafredo third – and identical result to Stage 10 of the race.

Besides topping the General Classification, Yates also won the combination jersey, and with the race’s conclusion, Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde is confirmed as the points classification winner for a record equalling fourth time, joining Laurent Jalabert and Sean Kelly, while Thomas De Gendt of Lotto-Soudal has won the mountains classification.

Yates, who in May led the Giro d’Italia for a fortnight before the maglia rosa was wrested from him by eventual winner Chris Froome on Stage 19, initially took the lead of the Spanish race after the Stage 9 summit finish at La Covatilla.

He surrendered it three days later to the Cofidis rider Jesus Herrada, but was back in the red jersey within 48 hours as he won Stage 14 at Les Praeres de Nava.

When he began the final week of the Giro d’Italia at the top of the overall standings, many wondered how he would respond to the pressure of leading a Grand Tour as it entered its third and final week.

Four months ago, he was found wanting, but that disappointment has proved invaluable during the past week as the 26-year-old from Bury first kept his closest challenger, Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde, at bay, then established a decisive lead over the past two days in Andorra.

It’s also the first Grand Tour overall victory for the Australian UCI WorldTour team Mitchelton-Scott, which Yates – alongside his twin brother Adam, whom he described as his “secret weapon” coming into the final week of the Vuelta – joined in 2014.

His Vuelta victory follows Froome’s win in Italy and Geraint Thomas’s triumph at the Tour de France, which as mentioned earlier marks a unique achievement for Britain’s cyclists.

However, unlike the two Team Sky riders, Yates was singled out as a future Grand Tour contender early in his career when, at the age of 19, he took a stage win in the Alps at the under-23 race the Tour de l’Avenir.

Among the riders that Yates, racing for Great Britain, beat that day were a number of older riders who have gone on to become major names in the sport, including future Grand Tour winners Tom Dumoulin and Nairo Qiuintana.

This evening, he takes his place alongside them as the winner of the 73rd edition of the Vuelta.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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