BRITISH cyclist Simon Yates is favourite to win Spain’s La Vuelta after holding onto the red jersey ahead of today’s processional final stage in Madrid.
Providing there are no unforeseen setbacks, the 26-year-old will become the third Brit to win one of cycling’s Grand Tour races within the last year.
Team Sky’s Chris Froome is the current holder of the Giro d’Italia title and his teammate Geraint Thomas won the Tour de France.
The Mitchelton-Scott team rider’s victory would also be the fifth consecutive win for a British cyclist in a Grand Tour event, as Chris Froome was the previous winner of La Vuelta and the Tour.
Yates finished one minute 46 seconds ahead of his next nearest rival at the end of the 20th stage in Andorra with just one stage to go.
Traditionally, the leading rider is not challenged in the final stage. The overall leader wears a red jersey, the equivalent to the yellow in the Tour de France.
Some 3,255km through many of Spain’s mountain ranges has been covered by riders during this year’s event, concluding in the capital today.
Yates previously competed for the British national team, winning a gold in the Track World Championships in 2013 and third overall in the Tour of Britain in the same year it was won by Sir Bradley Wiggins.
In 2016, Yates was banned for four months after committing what the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) termed a non-intentional violation of an anti-doping rule.
It was reported that he had tested positive for the controlled substance Terbutaline, used for for the treatment of asthm, and that the doctor on Yates’s former team, Orica-GreenEdge, had made an administrative error by failing to apply for a therapeutic use exemptions (TUE), to treat the the cyclist’s condition.
Yates, from Bury, Greater Manchester, has a twin brother Adam, who is also a professional cyclist and was placed fourth overall in the Tour de France in 2016.