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The Vuelta a España English: Tour of Spain is an annual multistage bicycle race primarily held in Spain, while also occasionally making passes
through nearby countries. Inspired by the success of the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, the race was first organized in 1935.
Simon Yates wins Vuelta a Espana: Twins come of age in double act to clinch maiden grand tour the anti-Sky way
As Simon Yates rolled into Madrid at the end of stage 21, won by Elia Viviani, he completed a remarkable clean sweep for British cyclists – yet for some his win is altogether more popular
“I once raced a team pursuit with Simon and Adam,” remembers Nick Hall, long-time chairman of Bury Clairon Cycling Club, where the Yates twins began their cycling journey. “They were about 14 and I was in my 40s. They dropped me with about three miles to go, just left me behind,” he laughs. “And of course, we won.”
This was the Yates duo right from the start: whether it was humiliating bigger kids on the track or racing each other up the Lumb Carr Road climb, they were clearly exceptional talents from the moment they first tried their hand at the Manchester Velodrome. “They were different,” says Hall. “Every young boy round here wanted to grow up and play for Man United. But if you asked Adam or Simon, they would say ‘I want be a professional cyclist’.”
For those like Hall who’ve followed the brothers from the start, their rise to the top of the sport – Adam was by his brother’s side as Simon clinched the Vuelta a Espana on Sunday – is no great surprise. Grand-tour glory was simply a natural progression: winning in the youth ranks, turning professional, winning one-day races, claiming the best young rider prize at the Tour de France, before maturing into general classification contenders.
Time will tell whether Adam – who Simon described as his “secret weapon” – can follow suit, having come close to a first stage win at the Tour de France this year, and whether we are on the cusp of an era of two Britons from the same family becoming serial grand-tour winners. “They learned the lessons after going gung-ho at the Giro,” says Kelly. “His [Simon’s] form has been unflappable. Apart from a few seconds lost to Valverde on stage 18, he’s never looked vulnerable at any point. They are young and there’s no reason why they can’t go and win more.”
You suspect those who watched the brothers first take to two wheels in Bury wouldn’t be surprised; perhaps it is simply the next logical step in their relentless climb to the top.
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