Simon Yates: Winning the Vuelta a "reward" after Giro disappointment

Next up for the champion — Leading Great Britain at the World Championships.

Back in May, Simon Yates led the Giro d'Italia for two weeks before cracking and losing over 30 minutes to eventual winner Chris Froome late in the race.

There was to be no repeat of that at the Vuelta a España.

The British cyclist rode superbly in the leader's red jersey to reach the finish line in Madrid at the top of the pack — redemption for the 26-year-old.

"I was very heartbroken from the Giro. I truly believe that I could have won that and it didn't end up like that," Yates admitted to reporters at the finish line.

"I came back and I persisted. I put the hard work in again and now I have the reward."

Simon Yates, winner of the 2018 Vuelta a España, on the podium.
Simon Yates, winner of the 2018 Vuelta a España, on the podium.Simon Yates, winner of the 2018 Vuelta a España, on the podium.

Lessons from Italy

Yates appeared to have learned his lessons from the Italian race during the Vuelta as he attacked when necessary but held his own pace at other times.

The main difference from four months ago, he said, was "just choosing my moments.

"Being calm in certain situations really, conserving my energy when I need to."

His Vuelta win means British riders have now won the last five Grand Tours in a row.

Froome won the 2017 Tour de France and Vuelta before claiming the 2018 Giro, while Geraint Thomas took home the 2018 Tour.

It's also the first time a country has won the three big stage races in a single year with three different riders.

Yates thinks it has been the 'perfect year' for British cycling.

"I agree, what more can you ask for?" Then, with a wink, he added: "Maybe the World Championships."

National team leader

Those championships will take place on a mountainous course set in Innsbruck-Tirol, Austria.

Yates will lead the Great Britain squad alongside twin brother Adam, as both Froome and Thomas have not been selected.

With three weeks of the Vuelta in the Yates' legs, Simon remains cautious about Britain's chances.

"I've never been the best at coming out of a Grand Tour with form. We'll see," he said.

"I will try my best and I just need to recover from here as best as possible."

The other cyclists forming Great Britain's men's road race team are Connor Swift. Hugh Carthy, Pete Kennaugh, Tao Geoghegan Hart, and James Knox.

2018 Road Cycling World Championships men's road race stage profile (Graphic: La Flamme Rouge)
2018 Road Cycling World Championships men's road race stage profile (Graphic: La Flamme Rouge)2018 Road Cycling World Championships men's road race stage profile (Graphic: La Flamme Rouge)

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