November issue of Procycling is out now

An in-depth look at the Vuelta a Espana and Simon Yates' victory

The Vuelta a España saw Simon Yates complete a British hat-trick of grand tour wins in 2018. The victory was a debut at a Grand Tour for the young British climber and his Mitchelton-Scott team, and came just months after Yates fell agonisingly short at the Giro d'Italia despite holding the race lead for most of the three weeks.

Yates and his twin brother Adam have long been tipped for success in Grand Tours and like to race aggressively - a tactic in the Giro which saw Simon attacking off the front at every opportunity possible. Yet the disappointment of losing the race lead on stage 19 in Italy proved a big lesson for Yates. Procycling was in Spain throughout all three weeks of the Vuelta, and watched as Mitchelton reined Yates in while still giving him the freedom to race in the style that suits him best, a tactic that resulted in the overall victory.

"They [Simon and Adam Yates] want to attack and be dynamic in the way they race, and you can still race that way in the modern era as long as you use it in the right way and at the right time," Mitchelton-Scott's directeur sportif Julien Dean explained in our cover feature this month.

While Mitchelton got their tactics spot on, Movistar left the Vuelta with more questions than answers. The Spanish squad came into 2018 with big aspirations and with a star trio of Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa as leaders they were predicted to be one of the biggest threats in grand tours this year. Yet in the Vuelta, as they did in the Tour and Giro, they fell short and Valverde's fifth overall concluded their disappointing season - their highest grand tour GC finish was fourth at the Giro courtesy of Richard Carapaz. Fran Reyes looks into why things went awry this year for the Spanish squad this season.

This year's Vuelta podium also comprised the youngest riders since the 1936 edition of the race, with Quick-Step Floors' Enric Mas among them. The 23-year-old young Spaniard has been tipped as the heir to the throne left vacant by Alberto Contador, and proved why by finishing runner-up at the Vuelta. Alasdair Fotheringham spoke to Mas about his breakthrough season and how he learned by taking inspiration and advice from riders around him.

Away from Spain, the Tour of Britain had the perfect ambassador when it began in Wales for the first time, with Tour winner Geraint Thomas among those on the start line. The Welshman and fellow yellow jersey winner Chris Froome proved to be favourites for the home fans who lined the eight-day race route, but it was Julian Alaphilippe who continued to show he's in the form of his life by winning the race overall. Photographers Simon Wilkinson and Alex Whitehouse were there to document all the action.

George Bennett is quickly garnering a reputation for being a no-nonsense, straight-talker as well as a rider climbing the GC ranks in grand tours. Mike Phillips went to meet the 28-year-old New Zealander to talk about moving across the world to Europe, his late start to the sport and why more professional athletes should use their voices and high profile for good.

September also saw the peloton leave Europe to travel across the Atlantic for Canada's only two WorldTour races: Grand Prix's Québec and Montréal. In the nine years since the one-day races began, the city-centre circuit races have become favourites with the Classics-style riders they suit and hold much of the country's cycling history. But as Sophie Hurcom found out when she visited, the autumn races seem all the more significant for riders hoping to salvage their seasons and against the difficult landscape facing North American cycling.

Among the 17 American pros in the WorldTour is Ian Boswell, who is coming to the end of his debut season with Katusha-Alpecin after spending five years at Team Sky. The season has been a strange one for the articulate 27-year-old who had to adapt to riding for his own opportunities again after years as working as a domestique at Sky. Edward Pickering met with Boswell as he was in the midst of his Tour de France debut to find out what he's learnt.

Pauline Ferrand-Prévot memorably burst onto the cycling scene in 2014 when she won three world championships titles in road, cyclo-cross and mountain bike aged just 22. But the pressure and high expectations that followed, proved hard to bear and an impossible task to match for the Frenchwoman as her results fluctuated in the years after. Now, Ferrand-Prévot told Edward Pickering, she's rediscovered joy in cycling.

Plus, inside the magazine you'll find all the regular features and analysis from the last month of racing, the latest products in cycling and an update from our diarists; Dan Martin, Dylan Teuns, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Steve Cummings.
Procycling magazine: the best writing and photography from inside the world's toughest sport. Pick up your copy in all good newsagents and supermarkets now, or pick up a Procycling subscription.

 

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