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Wiggins Exclusive: Simon Yates might not have won La Vuelta if he'd gone to Sky

Wiggins Exclusive: Yates might not have won La Vuelta if he'd gone to Sky

17/09/2018 at 18:52Updated 17/09/2018 at 21:04

Sir Bradley Wiggins says Simon Yates might never have won La Vuelta had he gone to Team Sky.

The Mitchelton-Scott rider clinched his first Grand Tour win in Madrid on Sunday, beating Spain's Enric Mas into second.

It came after fellow Britons Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas won the Giro d'Italia - in which Yates blew a huge lead - and the Tour de France earlier this year.

And Wiggins, who won the Tour de France in 2012, believes Yates may not be celebrating now had he joined Team Sky five years ago.

Simon and his brother Adam chose to join Orica-GreenEdge - now known as Mitchelton-Scott - back in 2013, with Simon turning down an offer from the British team. And after finishing seventh in the Tour de France 2017, Simon again opted to sign an extension.

Wiggins said: "Had he gone to Sky, back when he got up there on the Tour, I don’t think he would’ve won the Vuelta. It was a sliding doors moment – whether his career would’ve gone this path.

" By nature of the fact that Sky wouldn’t take Adam on as well – they come as one package – he’s found a great team and won a Grand Tour at 26."

Wiggins also believed that Yates not winning the Giro, despite leading the race for 13 days before falling away on Stage 19, paved the way for his success at the weekend.

"That was the huge learning curve for him," he added. "In some ways that was the best thing that ever happened to him. He’s learnt from it and now he’s won La Vuelta and, at 26, he’s got chances to win more Giros, more [Grand] Tours down the line.

"There’s only one way to learn and that’s by mass failures like that which must have been hugely disappointing for him."