Team Sky’s Chris Froome has made history by winning the 2017 Vuelta a Espana, becoming the first rider to win the Tour de France and then go on to win the Vuelta in the same year.
He is only the third rider to win both races in the same year, following Jacques Anquetil (1963) and Bernard Hinault (1978). The Vuelta moved in the calendar to become the last of each year’s three Grand Tours in 1995.
Froome sealed his victory in Madrid on Sunday, finishing the final stage into the Spanish capital.
Ahead of this year’s Vuelta, Froome had spoken of his “unfinished business” at a race where he has finished second on three previous occasions, including the 2011 edition where he made his breakthrough as a Grand Tour rider. The Kenyan-born rider had been forced to abandon in 2015 after breaking his foot in a crash.
Froome, who is the first British winner of the Spanish Grand Tour, now adds the Vuelta a Espana to his four Tour de France victories (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017).
After more than 160 hours of racing across 42 stages at the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana, Froome’s combined margin of victory was just 3 minutes and 9 seconds (54 seconds at the Tour de France and 2 minutes 15 seconds at the Vuelta).
The Briton’s victories at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana were achieved across 6864 kilometres / 4265 miles of racing through Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Andorra and Spain.
After all but sealing his victory on the climb of L’Angliru last Saturday, Froome said:
“It’s an amazing feeling. The team has just been incredible over the last few months. It’s meant so much to me, the way they have supported us. I owe a massive thank you to all my teammates.
“I have to say that is probably the toughest Grand Tour I’ve ever ridden. There was something different happening every day. I’ve had good days and then I’ve been lying on the ground, bleeding, thinking my race might be over. It’s been a rollercoaster – absolutely relentless. It’s a relief now to finish and to be getting to Madrid.
“I think it probably is my greatest achievement, being the first person to win the Tour de France and then go on to win the Vuelta.”