When Alberto Contador crossed the line in Madrid on Sunday to confirm victory in the Vuelta a Espana, he became only the fifth rider of all time to win the three grand tours in his career.

The 25-year-old Spaniard clinched the triple in double quick time. Just 14 months have elapsed since he won the 2007 Tour de France. This season he has added the Giro d?Italia and Vuelta a Espana to become the rider to complete the full set of grand tours in the quickest time.

Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault are the only four riders to achieve the feat. It took the greatest cyclist of all time, Merckx, four years and 11 months to complete the full set.

Bernard Hinault won the Vuelta and Tour in 1978 and added his first Giro in 1980 to do the triple in a speedy two years and one month.

But the fact that Contador?s team was barred from the Tour this year meant Contador was able to capitalise by concentrating on the Giro and the Vuelta. He joins the ranks of the greats after completing victory in the three grand tours in an incredible period spanning just one year and two months.

THE GRAND SLAM CLUB

Only five riders have won all three of the major tours ? the Giro d?Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana ? in their careers.

JACQUES ANQUETIL

First Tour de France July 1957

First Giro d?Italia June 1960

First Vuelta a Espana May 1963

Time taken to complete the set ? 5 years, 10 months

Age when completing the set ? 29 years 4 months

Total grand tour tally: 5 TdF, 2 Giro, 1 Vuelta

FELICE GIMONDI

First Tour de France July 1965

First Giro d?Italia June 1967

First Vuelta a Espana May 1968

Time taken to complete the set ? 2 years 10 months

Age when completing the set ? 25 years 8 months

Total grand tour tally: 1 TdF, 3 Giro, 1 Vuelta

EDDY MERCKX

First Giro d?Italia June 1968

First Tour de France July 1969

First Vuelta a Espana May 1973

Time taken to complete the set ? 4 years 11 months

Age when completing the set ? 27 years 11 months

Total grand tour tally: 5 TdF, 5 Giro, 1 Vuelta

BERNARD HINAULT

First Vuelta a Espana May 1978

First Tour de France July 1978

First Giro d?Italia June 1980

Time taken to complete the set ? 2 years 1 month

Age when completing the set ? 25 years 7 months

Total grand tour tally: 5 TdF, 3 Giro, 2 Vuelta

ALBERTO CONTADOR

First Tour de France July 2007

First Giro d?Italia June 2008

First Vuelta a Espana September 2008

Time taken to complete the set ? 1 year 2 months

Age when completing the set ? 25 years 9 months

Total grand tour tally: 1 TdF, 1 Giro, 1 Vuelta

TOUR OF SPAIN 2008

STAGE REPORTS

Stage 21: Contador wins 2008 Tour of Spain

Stage 20: Contador sets up overall win

Stage 19: Arroyo denies sprinters with seconds to spare

Stage 18: Roche loses stage by inches

Stage 17: Weylandt takes Quick Step’s fifth stage

Stage 16: Boonen wins second sprint

Stage 15: Garcia Dapena takes solo win

Stage 14: Contador takes second mountain-top stage win

Stage 13: Contador wins on Angliru to take lead

Stage 12: Bettini wins, Valverde out of contention

Stage 11: Freire wins stage

Stage 10: Hinault wins, Martinez retains lead

Stage nine: Van Avermaet takes stage, Martinez new leader

Stage eight: Moncoutie triumphs in Vuelta’s second Pyrenean stage

Stage seven: Ballan takes surprise win in mountains

Stage six: Bettini wins, Chavanel leads

Stage five: time trial win for Leipheimer

Stage four: Bennati takes crash-strewn stage

Stage three: Boonen bounces back

Stage two: Valverde powers into lead

Stage one: Liquigas are surprise winners

NEWS

Contador becomes quickest to complete Grand Tour set

Sastre slams Riis for lack of support

Tour of Spain rest day review 1

Tour of Spain on Eurosport (schedule)

Behind the scenes at the Tour of Spain

Tour of Spain – still a week too long?

Tour of Spain kicks off this weekend

PHOTOS

Stage 21

Stage 20

Stage 19

Stage 18

Stage 17

Stage 16

Stage 15

Stage 14

Stage 13

Stage 12

Stage 11

Stage 10

Stage nine

Stage eight

Stage seven

Stage six

Stage five

Stage four

Stage three

Stage two

Stage one