Chris Froome: Tour-Vuelta double probably my greatest achievement
Team Sky man celebrates historic Vuelta a Espana win, and also tops points classification
by Colin Henrys
Chris Froome called his historic Grand Tour double his ‘greatest achievement’ after sealing his maiden Vuelta a Espana triumph to follow July’s Tour de France win.
Froome is the first man ever to win the Tour and then go on to win the Vuelta, and only the third rider to win both in the same season – Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil both achieved the double when the Vuelta was the season’s first Grand Tour.
Froome’s 11th place on the final stage was also enough to win the green points classification jersey, becoming the third Brit to win top the classification after Malcolm Elliott in 1989 and Mark Cavendish in 2010.
And the Team Sky man was quick to pay tribute to his team-mates as, after four top-five finishes (three of which saw him finish runner-up) in the Spanish Grand Tour, Froome finally topped the Vuelta podium.
“I think it’s probably is my greatest achievement, being the first person to win the Tour de France and then go on to win the Vuelta a Espana," Froome said.
“It’s an amazing feeling. The team has just been incredible over the last few months. It’s meant so much to me, the way they have supported us. I owe a massive thank you to all my teammates.
“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. It’s a relief now to finish and to be getting to Madrid.
“I've been fighting for this victory now for six years and three years I've been standing on the second step. It's just amazing to stand on the top step this time."
On winning the points jersey too, Froome added: “Today in the final I figured this would probably be the only time in my life to try and win the green jersey of a Grand Tour, so I gave it everything I had and managed to get a few points at the finish there.
“Obviously I couldn't be happier with the result. I'm just a biker racer and of course if there's a competition to be won I'm going to go for it."
He ultimately finished two points clear of four-time stage winner Matteo Trentin (QuickStep Floors), who won the final stage in Madrid, having finished in the top-ten on nine of the 20 individual stages.
Though normally considered a sprinter’s prize, the lack of flat, sprinter’s stages and Froome’s consistency ultimately saw him claim the prize.
Trentin’s four stage wins actually made him the only the non-GC man among the top seven riders in the points classification.
Froome also finished third in the mountains classification, which Cannondale-Drapac’s Davide Villella won, to ensure the Team Sky man also became the first Brit to win the combination classification.
His two stage wins in this year’s race and overall triumphs means Froome has now won 12 Grand Tour stages, topped three secondary classifications (this year’s two, plus Tour de France King of the Mountains in 2015) and won five Grand Tours in all.
With Alberto Contador retiring after the Vuelta, the latter stat makes him the most successful in the current peloton, overtaking Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), the man who finished runner-up at 2’15" behind Froome.
Vuelta a Espana 2017: final general classification
1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 82.30.02hrs
2) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida +2.15
3) Ilnur Zakarin (RUS) – Katusha-Alpecin +2.51
4) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Team Sunweb +3.15
5) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Trek-Segafredo +3.18
6) Wout Poels (NED) – Team Sky +6.59
7) Michael Woods (CAN) – Cannondale-Drapac +8.27
8) Miguel Angel Lopez (COL) – Astana +9.13
9) Steven Kruijswijk (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo +11.18
10) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing +15.50