9/16/2018 10:27:13 PM

Britain's Yates steps out of Sky shadows to reign in Spain

Britain

Madrid, Spain: Simon Yates stepped out of the shadows of British cycling giants Sky on Sunday to secure his maiden Grand Tour triumph at the Tour of Spain for his Mitchelton team.

Yates, a former track racer whose road racing talents took him to the brink of victory in this year's Giro d'Italia, all but wrapped up overall victory on Saturday after yet another strong finish on the final mountain stage.

After a largely processional final stage to Madrid on Sunday claimed by Elia Viviani in a bunch sprint, the 26-year-old Englishman triumphed with a winning time of 82hr 5min 58sec, Enric Mas finishing second overall at 1:46 and Miguel Angel Lopez completing the podium.

It was Yates' first victory in a three-week race and comes months after the stinging disappointment of losing the Giro d'Italia, having controlled the race for much of the opening two weeks last May.

On that occasion, Sky leader Chris Froome capitalised on Yates' collapse in the mountains to secure the race's pink jersey and seal his third consecutive Grand Tour after winning the Tour de France and Tour of Spain in 2017. 

Froome's Grand Tour-winning streak came to an end in July, when teammate Geraint Thomas, who also honed his skills on the track, upset the Kenyan-born Briton to triumph at the Tour de France.

Yates' win on Sunday meant British riders have dominated all three Grand Tours in 2018.

He also took Britain's impressive streak of consecutive Grand Tour victories to five; although it won't be lost on British cycling aficionados that it was the first British win outside of Team Sky.

Thanks to their multi-million pound budget and ability to attract the best cyclists for specific roles and races, Sky are considered the 'Real Madrid' of the professional peloton.

Sky, who formed on the back of the success enjoyed by Britain's all-conquering world and Olympic track squad, would be forgiven for ignoring Yates' obvious talents.

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