FROOME JOINS GREATS

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

CHRIS FROOME joined the pan­theon of cy­cling greats yes­ter­day as he se­cured his first Vuelta a Es­pana vic­tory, be­com­ing the first rider since French­man Bernard Hin­ault in 1978 to win the Tour de France and Vuelta in the same sea­son. French­man Jac­ques An­quetil also did the dou­ble in 1963 al­though the Bri­ton is the first man to win both since the Vuelta was shifted from its old start date of late April to late Au­gust, when tem­per­a­tures in Spain are at their most un­for­giv­ing. Even though Froome has dom­i­nated the Tour de France in re­cent times, with four wins in five years and three vic­to­ries in a row, he has long talked about hav­ing un­fin­ished busi­ness in the Vuelta, the race where he first made his name in 2011. “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,” Froome said. “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.” Six years ago the Kenyan-born rider cat­a­pulted him­self from a lit­tle-known do­mes­tique to a se­ri­ous grand tour con­tender by up­stag­ing Sky team­mate Bradley Wig­gins in the Vuelta with a stun­ning time-trial vic­tory and im­pres­sive dis­plays in the moun­tains.

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