Photo: Francisco Seco, Associated Press
The british Chris Froome celebrates on the podium after winning the Vuelta.
Chris Froome has written a feat in capital letters and won the Vuelta of his career and sealant in the space of two months the plush lined Tour de France, Tour of Spain, unpublished the same season since 1978.
Winner in July for his fourth Tour de France, the lanky leader of team Sky is back on his bike less than a month later to dominate finally the test in Spanish, where he had finished three times in second place (2011, 2014, 2016).
“These last three months have been a whirlwind,” admitted Froome receiving a commemorative trophy of this doubled on the podium plaza de Cibeles, in Madrid. “Thank you to all those who were part of this adventure. “
Froome is the first British to enter his name in the history of the Vuelta, where he succeeds to the Colombian Nairo Quintana, winner in 2016.
A giant british
Especially, “Froomey” inscribed his name among the giants of his sport : he equaled the French Jacques Anquetil (1963) and Bernard Hinault (1978), the only two riders before him to have won these two Grand Tours in the same year.
The native of Nairobi (Kenya) is the first to succeed in the double Tour-Vuelta, in this order from the repositioning at the end of the summer of the race the Spanish, fought in the spring prior to 1995.
Which says a lot about the capabilities of resistance of Froome : July 23, wearing the yellow jersey, he raised his arms on the Champs-Élysées in Paris and, less than a month later, on 21 August, he donned the leader’s red jersey of the Vuelta during the 3rd stage in Andorra.
Despite fierce opposition and a race unbridled, Froome has managed to keep his tunic up to the Paseo del Prado on Sunday in Madrid, where the Italian Matteo Trentin (Quickstep) won the sprint to claim his fourth stage victory in this edition.
The british rider has modestly explained that he had approached the Large Loop a little less in shape than usual, in order to keep the freshness for his big bet : to win finally the Vuelta, this event close to her heart because it was revealed in 2011, and for which he wept hot tears on Saturday, after his victory assured.
By bringing back the red jersey in Madrid, Froome gives wrong those who viewed him as a rider that is programmed to shine in July. And it gives Sky a first victory over another three-week race, the Tour de France, bringing a little comfort to a formation under investigation in the United Kingdom, including the use of the authorizations for therapeutic use (TUE).
The Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain), second, and Russian Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), for the first time on the podium of a Grand Tour, completed the leading trio final.
The Gunslinger pulls his reverence
As to the Spanish Alberto Contador (Trek), of which it was the last race before retiring at 34 years old, he finished 5th in the general classification, is not without having celebrated his farewell by winning Saturday, the step-queen to the top of the mythical col of the Angliru.
The peloton has left the champion from madrid to penetrate only the head in the streets of the Spanish capital, as a tribute to his long and successful career : the ” Gunslinger “, triple winner of the Vuelta, will remain as one of six riders to have won all three Grand Tours (France, Italy, Spain), in spite of the withdrawals from the Tour de France in 2010 and the Giro 2011 for doping.
“I believe that this is the time to let the place to other riders. I’ve always wanted to shoot my bow at the highest level, ” responded Contador, who has been much applauded on the podium by coming to receive his award for super combative.
Join the very closed circle of collectors of the Grand tour is the new challenge for Froome, who only had the Tour of Italy to be conquered.
But before you aim for the pink jersey of the Giro d’italia, the Briton has been full of tunics, Sunday : in addition to the red jersey of the general classification, he also won the white jersey of the combined and participated in the massive sprint to keep his green jersey for the points classification threatened by Trentino. As for the jersey of best climber, was won by Italian Davide Villella (Cannondale).