Back in May you might have got reasonable odds on a British rider winning all three Grand Tours in 2018, but taking a punt that three different British riders would finish atop the GC podiums of the Giro, Tour & Vuelta would have bagged you very long odds, and a fair amount of head-shaking from your cycling friends..
But fast-forward to September and the trio of Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Simon Yates had managed just that - all in equally improbable ways.
On Stage 19 of the Giro, race leader Yates blew up as Froome rose Lazarus-like from poor form and the threat of a doping ban to put in what will surely go down the best single-day ride of his career; a scintillating 80 kilometre solo break across multiple cols. Pulling back over 4 minutes, Froome not only won the Giro but also completed his own Triple Crown of holding all three Grand Tour titles simultaneously.
Froome rightfully went into July's TdF as favourite but an inauspicious start saw him (and others) fall behind a faultless Thomas who, throughout the race, stuck to the line that Chris remained the team leader and he would support him. Back to back wins catapulted Thomas into yellow and a date with destiny. Froome recognised the tilting balance of power and magnanimously reverted to Domestique Deluxe for his teammate. Thomas' win proved highly popular both in France and the UK - something Froome has struggled to do.
And so to Spain where Yates was looking to exercise his Italian demons. The different parcours allowed him to build into the race and he sought to curb his more attacking instincts. Without the benefit of a previous win at this level to draw comparison to, the city never seemed assured or inevitable but his new cool head - allied with his existing climber's legs - saw off all challengers giving a maiden GT victory to Mitchelton-Scott and the third leg of the GB triple.
Grand Tour Triple
- Gallery-quality Hahnemuhle giclée art print
- Strictly Limited Edition of 25 per size
Large 841x420mm, 33 1/8" x 16 1/2"
- Medium 594x297, 23 3/8" x 11 3/4"
- Please note this product is unframed