The latest victory for Chris Froome puts him on the top step

Best of - La Vuelta 2017 (EN)

of British sporting achievement.

His four Tour Dr France victories already had him up there but adding a second Grand Tour in year with la Vuelta really seals it.

With the help of some injury Chris Froome planned his season to do two things. First win the Tour and then win the Vuelta. As with most years recently his plan worked.

Setting out to enter the Tour with less racing in his legs, to be “undercooked” in his own words, was a gamble and it probably showed in the way he raced through those three weeks. Much made of his lack of stage victory and losing the yellow jersey. But it ended up as a winning gamble.

It was a gamble required so he was fresh for another assault on the Grand Tour that brought him to prominence.

Most riders plan to peak during those three weeks in France and then see what happens after, which is usually a drop off after the main goal has been achieved.

The way Froome ride in Spain showed how his plan had worked. He looked more like the rider we’re accustomed to seeing earlier in the season. Maybe not quite as dominant but none of the riders that completed the Tour was living with him day after day. The likes of Chavez, Yates and Bardet, were there at times but not at the end.

Nibali missed the Tour after racing the Giro and was Froome’s closest rival. It went too and fro between them a bit. Froome losing time after his couple of falls on stage 12 and then the stage after putting some effort in to win the time trial. But then Froome would take back some time from the Italian the next day and after Nibali’s fall on the final descent of the penultimate climb he wasn’t in sight as Froome rolled over the finish line atop the monstrous Angliru.

Ah the Angliru, part of where it started for Froome back in 2011, nursing the then team and race leader Wiggins up the steep slopes, where he could have won the race but ended up losing it. This time his only danger was behind him not winning the stage ahead.

No, Contador was so far down even this stunning ride up one of the most feared mountains on the pro circuit was enough to propel the Spaniard into contention on what was really his last day racing as a professional cyclists.

Love him or loathe him, and those fans all round Spain were showing their love for him, Contador lit up this race. Allowed freedom due to the time he lost in Andorra you figure he probably would have played it the same if he wasn’t a few minutes down and how would the peloton’s reaction to his attacks have rip everything apart in the process.

It was his last day racing but not his last in the saddle, he got a good distance on the rest for his lap of honour as they entered the Madrid circuit for what should have been a ceremonial ride around for the red jersey winner. But For also held the green jersey and how many times in his career will he win “the sprinter’s competition”?

Chasing bonus seconds on the intermediate sprint, gaining none while his closest challenger picked up the maximum he needed to contest the final sprint, not the place for a GC contender. With a Trentin victory For needed to finish 12th or better… he came in 11th.

So he stood on the podium to receive the green points jersey, the white combined jersey and most importantly of all the main goal the red winner’s jersey.

His second Grand Tour victory of the year, the first to win two, including the Tour, in a year in nearly two decades only the third rider after Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault to win both of these but the first to do so when the Vuelta followed the Tour.

It’s another standard set by Britain’s greatest sportsman… now he just needs to join those greats on five Tour wind… then maybe the BBC might recognise him…

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