Local professional cyclist Kaden Groves has made history by becoming the first Australian to win the coveted green jersey as the best sprint rider in the Tour of Spain.
24 year-old Groves, who is from Gympie and is also a member of the Sunshine Coast Cycling Club, won the final stage of the 3,100 kilometre race in Madrid overnight to claim the sprinter’s title.
He won three stages of this year’s race and finished second twice.
Groves started as a triathlete and moved to road racing as he got older.
No Australian has finished in the top three for the sprinter’s green jersey in the 70 year history of the classification being contested at the event.
He joins Robbie McEwen, Baden Cook and Michael Matthews as Australian riders to have won the sprint category at one of cycling’s Grand Tours.
They all won at the Tour de France
“For sure, I didn’t imagine I would win this way. Coming into today, I really wanted to take the stage and keep the green jersey but going for a breakaway wasn’t my intention,” Groves said after today’s win.
“Remco Evenepoel this morning was a threat for the green jersey and I suspected he might try something, not to take the jersey, but to try and win the stage.
“And I knew I had to follow him. It was quite interesting in the finale. I didn’t want to pull the guys in the last kilometre because obviously it would take away my sprint,” he said.
“We all looked at each other and then it meant that the peloton came back but I knew that when I’m in a sprint, I can find a little extra, and Remco leading out in the final hectometres was a big advantage for me.
“It’s pretty special. I need to thank my team, without them it wouldn’t have been possible.
“We had such a big month here in Spain and we prepared together as well. This victory of the jersey and also my third stage mean a lot to me and I need to thank my team,” Groves said.