Simon Yates set to win his first Grand Tour
Britain’s Simon Yates will win a first Grand Tour after finishing third on the Vuelta a Espana’s penultimate stage.
Yates leads stage 20 winner Enric Mas by one minute 46 seconds with Sunday’s processional race to Madrid to come.
Tradition dictates the race leader is not attacked on the final stage so he just needs to cross the line to win.
It is the first time Britons have won all three Grand Tours in the same year with Chris Froome’s Giro d’Italia title and Geraint Thomas’ Tour de France win.
Only twice before have riders from the same country won all three races in a season, but this is the first time it has been done by different people.
And Yates’ victory will be the fifth Grand Tour triumph in a row for Britain after Froome also won last year’s Tour and Vuelta.
“I think it’s sinking in,” said Yates. “I’m incredibly proud, and incredibly proud of the team also – they carried me through the entire three weeks. It’s the first Grand Tour win for the team – it’s unbelievable.”
The 26-year-old Mitchelton-Scott rider came close to winning one of the sport’s three-week races in May when he led the Giro going into stage 19. However, he was undone by Froome’s stunning solo ride as the Team Sky rider won a sixth Grand Tour.
But there was to be no repeat at the Vuelta as Yates coolly kept the red jersey with a solid ride through Andorra.