Simon Yates’s Vuelta a Espana victory caps a grand year for British cycling

Mitchelton-Scott team rider targets the Giro d’Italia after win in Spain

Simon Yates cycling Vuelta a Espana
Simon Yates celebrates his victory in the 73rd edition of the Vuelta a Espana cycling race
(Image credit: Benjamin Cremel/AFP/Getty Images )

After completing his first grand tour victory at the Vuelta a Espana, Simon Yates admitted he was “in shock” when he made British cycling history.

Following Chris Froome’s win at the Giro d’Italia in May and Geraint Thomas’s Tour de France win in July, Yates’s victory was a fifth grand tour success in a row for British riders (Froome also won last year’s Tour and Vuelta).

Yates, who is 26, suffered “real heartbreak” at the Giro d’Italia earlier this season with a “spectacular and very public” implosion just days from the finish in Rome, The Daily Telegraph reports.

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But after securing the Vuelta ahead of Spain’s Enric Mas, Mitchelton-Scott team rider Yates said: “It feels great. Really unbelievable. I think it’s still sinking in. I have no words, it’s just really unbelievable.

“I like to race on my instinct and I hope that I continue to do so and achieve more big results like today at the Vuelta a Espana.

“I came back from real heartbreak from the Giro d’Italia and I am still in shock that I’ve managed to pull it off... I get really nervous up on the stage but it was a very special moment that I will cherish forever.”

‘Extraordinary season’

The Telegraph reports that Yates has “rewritten history” and his win in Spain caps “an extraordinary season for British cycling”.

Telegraph cycling correspondent Tom Cary writes: “Only twice before have riders from the same country won all three of cycling’s grand tours but this is the first time it has been done by three different cyclists.

“There were no British winners in any of the first 259 grand tours, yet following Yates’s victory in Madrid this weekend a British rider has now been victorious in nine of the last 20.”

Unfinished business

After the heartbreak in Rome, Yates told The Guardian he was plotting a return to the Giro d’Italia and that would be his priority next year.

“My gut feeling is that I’d like to go back to the Giro because I have unfinished business there,” he said. “I’ve not thought about it too much because I’ve been concentrating on this and the world championships [in Innsbruck in two weeks’ time]. But my gut feeling is that’s where I’d like to try again.”

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