Sir Chris Hoy hails Yates’ Vuelta a Espana victory

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It’s been an unbelievable day – Simon Yates on Vuelta a Espana win

Sir Chris Hoy says Simon Yates’ Vuelta a Espana victory is “incredible”, and that British cycling fans must be “pinching themselves”.

The win saw a clean sweep of British victories in this year’s Grand Tours.

“You have to pinch yourself as a cycling fan looking back 10-15 years ago to have one Grand Tour winner in all of history that was a pipe dream.

“Now we’ve got three in one year, it’s quite incredible,” the six-time Olympic champion said.

The 26-year-old’s triumph in Madrid on Sunday means British riders have won nine of the past 20 Grand Tours.

In winning the Vuelta a Espana, Yates crowned a stunning year for British cycling that has now seen an unprecedented British Grand Tour slam in the wake of Chris Froome’s Giro d’Italia win and Geraint Thomas’s Tour de France victory.

As Yates arrived in Madrid on Sunday’s largely processional stage his Mitchelton-Scott team-mate and twin brother, Adam, was by his side.

“For Simon and Adam Yates, what an incredible journey it’s been,” Hoy told BBC 5 live Breakfast.

“Both were track riders in the British team and Simon was a World points race champion in 2013, and it shows the young riders now, especially the young track endurance riders that there’s a pathway, and they can follow in the footsteps of the likes of Geraint Thomas, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Simon Yates and see it’s not a pipedream, it’s a reality if you work hard and have the talent.”

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Yates’ triumph on Sunday means British riders have won nine of the past 20 Grand Tours

British Cycling’s Performance Director Stephen Park also hailed the recent domination from Britain’s cyclists, following a run that started when Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first to win one with victory in the 2012 Tour de France.

“I think the work being done by the Great Britain team programmes in their early years is helping to form those riders,” Park said.

“There’s no doubt a lot of that work has gone on in years gone by – Simon Yates being part of the Great Britain cycling team from 2010-2014 – and working with a number of those riders, some of whom have been through the GB team – Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Sir Bradley Wiggins – so it’s about putting in place those foundations.

“But, ultimately, it’s a full team effort and not just everything British Cycling does.

“For sure, it’s everything their professional teams do, but ultimately the huge commitment those riders put in themselves for a significant amount of time, year after year.

“Simon started in the British Cycling team in 2010, so for eight years he’s been chasing this particular dream of winning a Grand Tour.”

Only twice before have riders from the same country won all three races in the same season, but this is the first time it has been done by different cyclists.

Belgium’s Eddy Merckx completed the triple crown in 1974, followed by Ireland’s Stephen Roche in 1987.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/45547585

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