FROOME JOINS GREATS
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.