Simon Yates’ victory at the 73rd Vuelta a España meant that this is the second year running that all three Grand Tour winners rode to their victories on Shimano Dura Ace – it just so happens all three this year were also British.
Yates followed Geraint Thomas’ victory in the Tour de France and the Chris Froome victory in the Giro D’Italia.
The Mitchelton-Scott rider’s victory came aboard his Scott Addict RC bike, adorned with Shimano’s flagship groupset, the Di2 electronic shifting R9150 version of Dura-Ace, featuring a 53/39T Dura-Ace crankset with 170mm crank arms, an integral Dura-Ace power meter (FC-R9100-P).
Hennie Stamsnijder, former Grand Tour rider and current Shimano Europe sports marketing team leader said: “To win a Grand Tour takes a special rider backed up by a rock-solid back-up team with equipment to match. We are very proud to have played a part in that, helping Yates to secure his first Grand Tour win.”
There were no British winners in any of the first 259 Grand Tours, yet following Yates’s victory in Madrid this weekend a British rider has now been victorious in nine of the last 20.
This achievement is the latest in a long line of successes since the introduction of lottery funding and formation of UK Sport in 1997. The funding has enabled British Cycling to establish a performance pathway for riders which has been instrumental in the success achieved by British riders from all disciplines at world championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games and Grand Tours.
Yates said: “It’s astonishing really. Growing up I was so accustomed to seeing the French, Italian and Spanish riders lead the way, so for myself, Chris and Geraint to all win a Grand Tour in the same year just shows how far the sport has come in this country.
“It hasn’t happened by accident and I’m so thankful to everybody who has been part of the journey, from all the volunteers at Bury Clarion to the support I received on the Great Britain Cycling Team pathway and of course everybody at Mitchelton–Scott. Without all of their support the last three weeks just wouldn’t have been possible.”
British Cycling Chief Executive Julie Harrington said: “We are incredibly fortunate in this country that, with the help of our funding partners UK Sport, the National Lottery, Sport England and HSBC UK we have been able to support the development of some of the world’s best riders through our performance pathway.
“What’s more, we know that their success has helped to inspire people up and down the country to get on their bikes, whether they want to race, get fit or just ride for fun. As Britain continues to battle with obesity, inactivity and the associated social costs, we believe that cycling has a huge role to play in helping to create a healthier and happier Britain, and victories like these are vital in encouraging people to take that first step.”