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Team Sky officials said they had no regrets as the team rode to an historic second and third at the Vuelta a España with Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins sharing the podium with surprise winner Juanjo Cobo.
Froome finishshed second by 13 seconds and Wiggins was third at 1:39 back. It’s the first time two British riders have finished together on a grand tour podium and the first British rider to be on grand tour podium since Robert Millar was second in the 1987 Giro d’Italia.
Froome tried in vain to shake Cobo in the closing days of the Vuelta, but said he’s satisfied with his breakthrough ride that revealed he has the motor to contest in grand tours.
“I’m over the moon and it was an experience of a lifetime,” Froome said after the stage. “Over the last week, when it became clear that my early form and time trial performance were not one-off results, I really began to enjoy myself and came to the realization that I can now compete with some of the best GC riders in the world.”
The podiums are the first for Team Sky in its second year as a team and comes a year after the squad left last year’s Vuelta in the wake of the death of a team soigneur during the race.
“It’s a sign of just how far we are moving forward and just how well Team Sky are performing this year to achieve an historical result like that,” said Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford. “Obviously we’d have liked to be on the top step but credit to the guys, they’ve both done fantastic races.”
For Wiggins, who bounced back to race the Vuelta after crashing out of the Tour de France with a broken clavicle, the performance is confirmation that his fourth-place in the 2009 Vuelta was “no fluke.”
“This race has proved that what happened two years ago at the Tour de France was no fluke and I know in my mind now that I have what it takes to match strong riders at the Tour next year,” Wiggins said. “”With my shoulder as it was this race was always going to be a bit of a testing ground for me and I’m really happy with the way I’ve been able to ride.”