Mitchelton Scott’s Simon Yates became this year’s third British Grand Tour winner when the 21-stage Vuelta a Espana concluded in Madrid today.
Yates first climbed onto the overall podium during stage four when he finished in third position. He dropped to fourth in stage five and remained there for the following three stages.
The 26-year-old took back the race lead in stage nine and held on to the spot for the next two stages until Cofidis’s Jesus Herrada took over the red jersey.
Yates reclaimed the lead when he won stage 14 and kept it throughout the rest of the tour to finish with a total time of 82:05:58.
After the final stage, which featured a 100.9km route from Alcorcon to Madrid, Yates held a one-minute-and-46-seconds lead over Quick-Step Floors’ Enric Mas.
Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez finished in third place overall.
Dimension Data’s Louis Meintjes was the highest placed South African after finishing in 58th position overall.
Yates, who placed second in this year’s Paris-Nice and Tour de Pologne, said after yesterday’s stage that the win was sinking in.
“I’m incredibly proud and incredibly proud of the team also. They carried me through the entire three weeks. It’s the first GT [Grand Tour] for the team – it’s just unbelievable.”
Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde finished in the green points jersey, Lotto-Soudal’s Thomas de Gendt in the polka-dot king of the mountains jersey and Yates in the combination jersey.
The final stage win went to Quick-Step Floors’ Elia Viviani who beat Bora-Hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan and Trek-Segafredo’s Giacomo Nizzolo into second and third place respectively.