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Vuelta champion also led Giro d'Italia for a fortnight earlier this season...

Simon Yates has been confirmed as the top rider in the UCI WorldTour Classification for 2018, a year in which he led the Giro d’Italia for a fortnight before going on to take his first Grand Tour overall win at the Vuelta.

Meanwhile, the UCI Women’s WorldTour Classification has been won by another Mitchelton-Scott rider, Annemiek van Vleuten.

The pair were recognised at the UCI Gala Awards in China today, held after the conclusion of the final races on the men’s and women’s calendars, the Tour of Guangxi.

Yates is one of two British cyclists in the top five of the men’s ranking, the other being Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas, who was in fourth place.

They were joined by three riders who have each tipped the classification in the past – Peter Sagan, who was 80 points adrift of Yates in second place, reigning road world champion Alejandro Valverde in third, and last year’s winner, Greg van Avermaet, who was fifth this time around.

Yates, aged 26, is the first British rider to finish the season at the head of the UCI WorldTour Classification since it was introduced in 2009, with Sir Bradley Wiggins runner-up in 2012, as was Froome the following year and again in 2017.

 Yates said: “After a week or so off the bike to reflect, it’s been an amazing year and one I will always remember. The results have been special but also results that I feel I have been working towards and getting closer to every year since becoming a professional and to finish at the top of the WorldTour rankings just tops it off.

“Of course, the Vuelta is the highlight as my first Grand Tour victory, and how we pulled together as a team to get everything right for that month of racing was incredible. But, despite the disappointment in the final days, I also look back at the Giro with a lot of pride of how we raced and what we achieved there.”

He added: “I like to race on my instinct, I think that’s what works best for me and what fans want to see, and I hope that I continue to do so and achieve more big results in the coming years.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.