Every Grand Tour win of the last 12 years

Whether you're settling an argument or just taking a trip down memory lane, here's our complete guide to the Grand Tours from 2006 to today

2018

Giro d'Italia: Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Chris Froome moved into the lead after a monster attack on stage 19. Image: Sunada
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Chris Froome (Team Sky) made history twice here - becoming both the first British rider to win the Giro, and adding his name to a select trio of riders who have held all three Grand Tour titles at the same time - along with Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault.

Up until stage 19, the race looked lost for Froome, who was in fourth on GC and 3 minutes 22 behind leader, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) - who had held the honour since stage six, winning on stages nine, 11 and 15.

On the slopes of the Colle delle Finestre, however, Froome made his intentions clear, riding away from the bunch with 80km to go and extending a lead which he held until Rome.

The stage was significantly less successful for Yates, who had appeared so unbreakable in the first two weeks, but struggled to hold the pace and dropped well out of the top ten.

Defending champion Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) spent much of the race in second, only wearing the maglia rosa following a victory in the opening time trial. Though he tried to eat into Froome's margin on the penultimate stage, he later admitted he simply could not shift the Brit.

Podium: Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) at 46s, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) at 4-57

KOM: Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Points: Elia Viviani (Quick Step Floors)

2017

Vuelta a España: Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Chris Froome on the final stage of the 2017 Vuelta a España (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Chris Froome (Team Sky) took his first victory at the Vuelta, ahead of  Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin).

Froome took hold of the leader's jersey on stage three, attacking with 7km to go towards a summit finish, further cementing his position with a win on stage nine's uphill finale.

On stage 11, he added to his time gap with second place, whilst his rivals where not able to follow him towards yet another gruelling uphill finish line. The Brit had to work hard the following day, when two crashes in quick succession over the final 10km almost scuppered his lead, but he was able to retain his red jersey.

Froome faced hot competition from Vincenzo Nibali, who claimed a few seconds on him over stage 14, but a long 40.2km time trial on stage 16 allowed him to build up a buffer, winning by 29 seconds. He gained yet more time in the coming days, eventually winning with a margin of 2-15 over Nibali.

Podium: Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) at 2-15,  Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) at 2-51

KOM: Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac)

Points: Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Tour de France: Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Chris Froome's supremely strong Team Sky were a cut above any of their rivals (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Despite going into the race on less than top form and without a win in 2017, there were times when Chris Froome's fourth Tour de France victory looked like something of a canter. He didn't win a stage en route to Paris, but nor did he need to.

Team-mate Geraint Thomas was the surprise winner of the yellow jersey in the opening time trial, and thereafter Sky were in the lead for all but two days of the race.

Working in Froome's favour were the early withdrawals of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Richie Porte (BMC Racing). Nairo Quintana (Movistar) looked fatigued after his tilt at the Giro, Alberto Contador (Trek Segafredo) appeared to be a fading force, and Sky's rivals never really looked capable of putting Froome's squad under genuine pressure.

Margins were small throughout a largely cagey Tour, but stage 20's time trial always looked likely to work in Froome's favour – and so it proved as he thrashed his rivals to establish some more substantial time gaps ahead of the race's arrival in Paris.

Among the other big stories of the Tour was Warren Barguil's excellent ride, as the 25-year-old Frenchman claimed the mountains jersey to the delight of the home fans. Early on, the clash between Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), which led to a broken shoulderblade for the Manxman and a controversial disqualification for the Slovak, cost Sagan the chance to win a record-equalling six successive green jerseys, and prevented  Cavendish from edging closer to Eddy Merckx's all-time Tour stage win record.

Podium: Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac), 54s; Romain Bardet (AG2R), 2-20

KOM: Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb)

Points: Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb)

Giro d'Italia: Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb)

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) celebrates his maiden Grand Tour win in Milan (Photo: Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

The 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia lived up to every inch of the pre-race hype as Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) snatched victory on the final stage.

Beginning the day in fourth position behind Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), the time trial specialist blasted to the GC victory around the 28km course from the Monza F1 circuit to the streets of Milan in an effortless display of power against the clock, becoming the first Dutchman to win the Giro.

Earlier in the race, Dumoulin put in the performance of his life to throw down the gauntlet in the first TT on stage ten, opening up a gap of 2-23 over Quintana.

That lead would be tested again and again through the mountainous latter half of the race, especially on the 222km Queen stage, when Dumoulin was forced to stop for an emergency natural break in the run-in to the final climb. His rivals took full advantage, and at the end of stage 16, the race lead was down to just 31 seconds.

As the race approached its climax, the improvised alliance of Quintana and Nibali tested Dumoulin to breaking point, as both riders knew that the Dutchman would hold all the aces on the final day's TT. Quintana seized pink on stage 19 and extended his lead to 53 seconds the following day – but ultimately Dumoulin had enough left at the climax of a thrilling race.

Away from the GC, sprinter Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) proved his talent with four stage wins on his debut Grand Tour, claiming the points jersey by a huge margin.

Podium: Nairo Quintana (Movistar), 31s; Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), 40s

KOM: Mikel Landa (Team Sky)

Points: Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors)

2016

Vuelta a España: Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) leaves Chris Froome (Team Sky) in his wake at the 2016 Vuelta a España (Photo: Watson)
(Image credit: Watson)

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) bounced back from the disappointment of the Tour de France to beat his arch-rival Chris Froome (Team Sky) and claim the second Grand Tour victory of his career.

Quintana took victory on the big mountains of stage 10 to take the race lead, and it was his all the way to Madrid, despite spirited challenges from Froome, Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff).

The key moment came on stage 15, when Quintana put himself into an escape group with Contador and team-mates to gain over two and a half minutes on Froome, who found himself without team support and perhaps suffering from a gruelling season that had taken him from France, to the Rio Olympics, and then to Spain.

Froome clawed back over two minutes as he convincingly won the key time trial stage to set up a thrilling final day in the mountains on stage 20. He repeatedly attacked Quintana on the final climb, but the Colombian held firm, actually gaining a couple of seconds on Froome on the line.

Podium: Chris Froome (Team Sky), 1-23; Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange), 4-08

KOM: Omar Fraile (Dimension Data)

Points: Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo)

Tour de France: Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Chris Froome wins stage 8 of the 2016 Tour de France

Chris Froome wins stage 8 of the 2016 Tour de France
(Image credit: Watson)

The 2016 Tour de France was a strange mix, in parts compelling and unpredictable, but at other times lacking in drama.

On the one hand, there were some unforgettable images. Chris Froome (Team Sky) confounded his rivals by attacking on a descent, and teamed up with Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) to form a successful break on a flat sprint stage. Perhaps most memorably of all, he found himself jogging up Mont Ventoux when his bike was damaged in a collision with a motorbike.

Elsewhere, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) proved his critics wrong when he won four stages – and his first yellow jersey – despite having focused his pre-Tour preparation on the Olympics rather than the road. Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) was hit by a falling inflatable. And Sagan was once again at the heart of everything, competing in sprints, launching breaks and ultimately winning three stages, as well as his fourth successive green jersey.

In the general classification, however, Froome and Sky never looked like losing. A team packed full of capable climbers such as Wout Poels, Mikel Landa, Geraint Thomas and Mikel Nieve were utterly dominant, and none of his rivals could match Froome in the two time trials.

The likes of Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Fabio Aru (Astana) and Richie Porte (BMC Racing) were unable to make a mark on an individual stage, never mind the race. Froome was simply a step above as he claimed the third Grand Tour of his career.

Podium: Romain Bardet (AG2R), 4-05; Nairo Quintana (Movistar), +-21

KOM: Rafal Majka (Tinkoff)

Points: Peter Sagan (Tinkoff)

Giro d'Italia: Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

Vincenzo Nibali riding away on stage 20 of the 2016 Giro d'Italia. Photo: Graham Watson

Vincenzo Nibali riding away on stage 20 of the 2016 Giro d'Italia. Photo: Graham Watson

For the second Grand Tour in succession, Astana pulled off a classic smash-and-grab.

With 18 stages complete, Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) looked virtually unbeatable and set for an unlikely first Grand Tour win – before the next two days turned the whole race upside down. Vincenzo Nibali was all but written off, placed in fourth and 4-43 behind Kruijswijk.

Then everything changed. The race leader lost control on the icy descent of the Colle Dell'Agnello, crashing hard into a snowdrift. Now it was the turn of Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) to eye a debut win, with a 44-second advantage over Nibali going into the final mountain stage. But the Italian proved his class with a dominant ride that turned the GC on its head, turning his deficit at the top into a 52-second lead.

Nibali wore the maglia rosa for just one day – but it was the day that counted.

Podium: Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge), 52s; Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), 1-17

KOM: Mikel Nieve (Team Sky)
Points:
Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo)

2015

Vuelta a España: Fabio Aru (Astana)

Fabio Aru celebrates winning the Leaders Jersey Stage 20 of the 2015 Vuelta Espana

Fabio Aru celebrates winning the Leaders Jersey Stage 20 of the 2015 Vuelta Espana
(Image credit: Watson)

A nail-biting Vuelta looked set to go down to the wire, and it was all set for a shock win for Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), considered up to this point a time trial specialist lacking the legs for a mountainous Grand Tour.

Rated 1,000-1 by the bookies before the start of the race, Dumoulin established a three-second lead over Fabio Aru in the stage 17 time trial. That advantage extended to nine seconds on the cobbled climb at the end of stage 19, but the Dutchman's ambitions came crashing down on the penultimate stage of the race. Astana put in a clinical display, turning the screw in the mountains to crack Dumoulin and leave Aru celebrating his maiden Grand Tour win.

Podium: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 1-17; Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), 1-29

KOM: Omar Fraile (Caja Rural)

Points: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Tour de France: Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Froome celebrates after the ride that essentially won this year's the Tour de France (Sunada)

Chris Froome celebrates victory on stage 10, a ride that effectively won the 2015 Tour de France (Sunada)

Bouncing back from the disappointment of the previous year, Chris Froome sealed his second Tour de France victory in style.

In yellow by stage four, Sky's leader was never out of the top two from that point, and with support from the outstanding Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte, he always seemed in control.

There was a memorable climax to the race as Nairo Quintana (Movistar) attacked on the Alpe d'Huez to shave more than a minute from Froome's lead, but the Kenyan-born Brit still had 1-12 in the bank for the finish in Paris.

Instead, the defining moment of the 2015 Tour was Froome's solo win on La Pierre-Saint-Martin, which delivered almost three minutes of breathing space in the general classification – but also launched a flurry of innuendo from critics suggesting that his clear dominance could only be the result of doping.

Podium: Nairo Quintana (Movistar), 1-12; Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), 5-25

KOM: Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Points: Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo)

Giro d'Italia: Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo)

Giro d'Italia - Stage 20

Alberto Contador on stage twenty of the 2015 Tour of Italy

(Image credit: Watson)

It wasn't the closest Giro in history – at times it felt like a man against boys as Alberto Contador crushed his opposition day after day – but it was a thrilling race nevertheless. The first 14 stages saw 14 different winners, and there was even a surprise breakaway win in Milan.

The general classification was a different story, however, as Contador took a stranglehold on the race and squeezed mercilessly. At times he barely even needed the support of a team – on stage 15 he found himself surrounded by four Astana riders on the final climb of the day and yet, incredibly, still managed to extend his lead over Astana's leader, Fabio Aru. El Pistolero was simply unstoppable, and a seventh Grand Tour win was in the bag.

Podium: Fabio Aru (Astana), 1-53; Mikel Landa (Astana), 3-05

KOM: Giovanni Visconti (Movistar)

Points: Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek)

2014

Vuelta a España: Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo)

Chris Froome congratulates Alberto Contador on his win in the 2014 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Chris Froome congratulates Alberto Contador on his win in the 2014 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

The Tour de France's loss was the Vuelta's gain, as Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Chris Froome (Team Sky) looked to rescue their seasons after disappointment in La Grande Boucle.

Contador, recovering from a broken tibia sustained at the Tour, proved the stronger of the two, taking two mountain stages on his way to a sixth Grand Tour win.

There was a stirring fightback from Froome in the final week, and some thrilling head-to-head racing in the blistering Spanish heat, but the Brit ultimately fell short.

Podium: Chris Froome (Team Sky), 1-10; Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), 1-50

KOM: Luis Léon Sanchez (Caja Rural)

Points: John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano)

Tour de France: Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

Vincenzo Nibali powers over the cobbles near Brillon in northern France during stage five of the Tour de France. His bike handling skills over the mud and rain-covered pavé helped him place third on the stage and stay in yellow (Jones)

Vincenzo Nibali powers over the cobbles near Brillon in northern France during stage five of the Tour de France. His bike handling skills over the mud and rain-covered pavé helped him place third on the stage and stay in yellow (Jones)
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

To critics, it was a win by default. A tough parcours that began in the Yorkshire sunshine and took in the cobbles of northern France claimed Vincenzo Nibali's rivals one by one, until the Italian was the last man standing.

Astana's leader took the yellow jersey as early as stage two and he relinquished it for just one day between Sheffield and Paris. Defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) crashed on stage four, then hit the deck twice on the cobbles of stage five, forcing his retirement from the race.

Stage 10 claimed Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), who fractured his tibia in a nasty fall. Nibali was two minutes clear and never looked back, eventually winning four stages on his way to completing the Triple Crown of Tour, Giro and Vuelta.

Would he have won against a full field? We'll never know – but it was a seriously impressive ride.

Podium: Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R), 7-37; Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), 8-15

KOM: Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo)

Points: Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

Giro d'Italia: Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Nairo Quintana on stage nineteen of the 2014 Giro d'Italia (Watson)

Nairo Quintana on stage nineteen of the 2014 Giro d'Italia (Watson)
(Image credit: Watson)

It was a race that began on the streets of Belfast and ended with a Colombian standing on the top of the podium in Milan for the first time.

The race hinged on dramatic (and somewhat controversial) racing on the slopes of the Stelvio on stage 16. With rain, fog and snow causing chaos, some teams believed the race to have been neutralised due to safety fears, but Nairo Quintana (Movistar) powered on to transform the GC. Starting the day in fifth place, 2-40 behind race leader Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step), the Colombian climber was in control of the race at the day's close, 1-41 ahead of the pack.

Podium: Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step), 2-58; Fabio Aru (Astana), 4-04

KOM: Julián Arrendondo (Trek Factory Racing)

Points: Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ)

2013

Vuelta a España: Chris Horner (Radioshack-Leopard)

Horner became the oldest Grand Tour champion when he won the Vuelta in 2013 aged 41

Horner became the oldest Grand Tour champion when he won the Vuelta in 2013 aged 41

Few surprise winners come quite as surprising as Chris Horner (Radioshack-Leopard), the 41-year-old veteran who had never finished higher than ninth in 10 previous Grand Tours. Following a see-saw battle with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Horner produced a series of outstanding performances in the Vuelta's mountainous final week to seal a win that no one saw coming.

Twice Nibali seized the red jersey from the American, but a late surge by the veteran on stage 19 saw him turn a six-second deficit into a three-second lead. Despite ferocious attacks from the Giro d'Italia winner on the penultimate stage, Horner somehow hung on, and even found the strength to extend his lead.

Podium: Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), 37s; Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), 1-36

KOM: Nicolas Edet (Confidis)

Points: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Tour de France: Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Chris Froome on stage eleven of the 2013 Tour de France

Chris Froome on stage eleven of the 2013 Tour de France
(Image credit: Watson)

The 100th edition of the Tour de France saw a repeat of the unthinkable: a British rider on the top step of the Paris podium. This time, however, Bradley Wiggins was left at home as Team Sky instead picked Chris Froome to lead their effort – and the 28-year-old's imperious performance paid back their confidence in spades.

Taking the lead through a stunning ride to Ax 3 Domaines on stage 8, Froome was unstoppable as he ground his rivals down time after time. Two further stage wins, one in a hilly time trial, gave him a 4-34 advantage going into stage 18's ascent of Alpe d'Huez.

Then came the wobble. Despite looking strong during the stage, Froome miscalculated his feeds and was seriously struggling with 5km to go.

Team-mate Richie Porte was sent back to the team car to pick up an energy bar, and his leader was given a 20-second penalty for an illegal feed. It was a price worth paying, however, as he put another 37 seconds into his chief rival Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), building the luxury of a five-minute lead in the process.

Podium: Nairo Quintana (Movistar), 4-20; Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 5-04

KOM: Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Points: Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

Giro d'Italia: Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

Vincenzo Nibali wins atop Tre Cime di Lavaredo on stage 20 of the 2013 Giro d'Italia (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

An attritional Giro saw riders battle through cold, wet weather as Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) became the first Italian rider to win the home Grand Tour since 2010.

Pre-race favourites included Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Cadel Evans (BMC) and Nibali himself, but ultimately only the 36-year-old Evans made it to the finish. Nibali seized the leader's jersey as early as stage eight and grew increasingly dominant as the race went on, claiming victories on stages 18 (a time trial) and 20 to finish close to five minutes clear at the top of the podium.

A staggering five stage wins for sprinter Mark Cavendish (Omega-Pharma Quickstep) allowed the Manxman to complete the full set of Grand Tour points jerseys, following on from his victories at the 2011 Tour de France and 2009 Vuelta.

Podium: Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky), 4-43; Cadel Evans (BMC), 5-52

KOM: Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox)

Points: Mark Cavendish (Omega-Pharma Quickstep)

2012

Vuelta a España: Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank)

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) turns the 2012 Vuelta on its head with a surprise attack on stage 17
(Image credit: watson)

A stone-cold classic Grand Tour delivered Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) his second Vuelta a España, and his first major win following his doping suspension.

The race looked set to belong to Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who took the lead in the crosswinds of stage four and extended it with three stage wins to establish a 28-second advantage over Contador by the final rest day.

Stage 17 had all the hallmarks of a breakaway win, and attentions were focused on the final days in the mountains – but Contador had other ideas.

He exploded off the front with 50km to go and Rodriguez was powerless to respond, trailing by more than two and a half minutes to leave Contador in complete control. Despite attacks from Rodriguez and compatriot Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the final days, Contador had enough in the tank to complete a memorable win.

John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) was the pick of the sprinters with an astonishing five stage wins, although the points jersey ultimately went to Valverde in a successful race for the home nation.

Podium: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), 1-16; Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), 1-37

KOM:  Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE)

Points: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Tour de France: Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)

Bradley Wiggins on stage twenty of the 2012 Tour de France
(Image credit: Watson)

It was the moment they said would never happen, as Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) kicked off Britain's greatest ever summer of cycling to win the Tour de France.

A track cyclist turned time triallist turned GC contender, Wiggins dominated the race from start to finish in a near-faultless performance, ably supported by his lieutenant and compatriot, Chris Froome.

After placing second behind Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack) in the opening prologue in Liege, Wiggins kept himself out of trouble in a crash-festooned first week. He then took charge of the overall classification after stage seven to La Planche des Belles Filles, and then took his first Tour stage win in the time trial two days later.

Wiggins’ grip on the yellow jersey tightened in the Alps and Pyrenees, where the combined effort of the two Brits dispensed their rivals with an air of cool calm.

Any doubt of which of the two talented riders should be leading Sky was dispelled on the final time trial, when Wiggins obliterated the field, winning by well over a minute over Froome, who himself had put in a stellar ride to place well ahead of Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank).

And to cap it all off for Great Britain and Sky, Mark Cavendish took his fourth consecutive victory on the Champs-Élysées, his third stage win of the 2012 Tour and his 23rd in total.

Podium: Chris Froome (Team Sky), 3-21; Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), 6-19

KOM: Thomas Voeckler (Europcar)

Points: Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale)

Giro d'Italia: Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda)

Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) rides the final day time trial to snatch victory in the 2012 Giro d'Italia

A nip-and-tuck battle between Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) ultimately led to the closest Giro finish for almost 40 years, as Hesjedal became the first Canadian – and only the second non-European – to win the Italian Grand Tour.

The lead changed hands between the two rivals four times as they battled for supremacy, with the Garmin-Barracuda rider snatching the lead on the final day time trial, overturning a 31-second deficit in the process.

It was a race of seconds from day one in Herning, Denmark, with neither rider able to put any significant time into the other, but the three time trials (two individual, one team) were ultimately enough to give Hesjedal the edge.

The race was a disaster for the home nation, who failed to place a rider on the podium for the first time since 1995, but it was a huge success for the Giro itself, which successfully bounced back from 2011's disastrous edition.

Podium: Joaquin Rodriguez (Katuhsa), 16s; Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM), 1-39

KOM: Matteo Rabattini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia)

Points: Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha)

2011

Vuelta a España: Juan José Cobo (Geox-TMC)

Chris Froome (Team Sky) tries to distance Juan José Cobo (Geox-TMX) on stage 19 of the 2011 Vuelta a España

Despite starting the race as a domestique for Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC), Juan José Cobo was the surprise winner of the 2011 Vuelta – though the highlight for British fans was second and third place for Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins (both Team Sky). It was the first time a Brit had stood on a Grand Tour podium since Robert Millar in the Giro d'Italia 24 years earlier.

Wiggins was team leader for Sky and led the race going into stage 15, but Cobo's brilliant attack on the Angliru proved too much for British hopeful.

In fact, it was Froome who looked the stronger and, like Cobo, he was soon to move from domestique to GC contender. A win on stage 17 proved the Kenyan-born rider's Grand Tour credentials, but he couldn't shake the Spaniard and was left 13 tantalising seconds adrift of the race lead – a margin that remained all the way to Madrid.

Podium: Chris Froome (Team Sky), 13s; Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), 1-39

KOM: David Moncoutié (Cofidis)

Points: Bauke Mollema (Rabobank)

Tour de France: Cadel Evans (BMC)

Cadel Evans (BMC) on his way to taking the yellow jersey on stage 20 of the 2011 Tour de France

A memorable race saw Cadel Evans (BMC) become the first Australian to win the Tour de France, while Mark Cavendish (HTC) became the first Brit to win green.

Fan favourite Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) held the lead from stage nine, successfully defending it through the Pyrenees and even into the Alps.

Cycling Weekly commented after the race that "seldom has the yellow jersey been defended with such rigour and worn with such pride". He held on until stage 19, when the big contenders upped their game with Paris in sight.

Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek) took yellow from Voeckler on Alpe d'Huez, with his brother Frank in second, but that left the penultimate day's time trial – and with Evans just 57 seconds off the lead, a win for BMC looked highly likely. Sure enough, the Australian blew the Luxembourgers away, and the race was in the bag. All that remained was the now-standard win in Paris for Cavendish, as he claimed his third successive win on the Champs-Élysées.

Podium: Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek), 1-34; Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek), 2-30

KOM: Samuel Sánchez (Euskatel-Euskadi)

Points: Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad)

Giro d'Italia: Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD)

Michele Scarponi (right) and Alberto Contador on stage 14 of the 2011 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: WATSON)

A race that began in farce and hit a tragic low in its first week, the 2011 Giro was ultimately decided in the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It was, in short, every cycling fan's worst nightmare.

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) began the race despite the prospect of a suspension following his positive drug test after the previous year's race. His win – by a margin of more than six minutes – was overturned in 2012. In Milan, Cycling Weekly predicted that his eventual suspension would render the race "a huge waste of time", and so it proved.

Unfortunately not everything that happened in the 2011 Giro could be as easily undone as removing Contador from the record books. A horrific crash on the Passo del Bocco descent on stage three cost Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt (Leopard-Trek) his life. Numerous tributes took place during the race, including the neutralisation of the following day's stage, which became a procession in Weylandt's memory.

Podium: Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), 46s; John Gadret (AG2R), 3-54

KOM: Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone)

Points: Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD)

2010

Vuelta a España: Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)

Vincenzo Nibali and Ezequiel Mosquera on stage 16 of the Vuelta a España

Aged 25, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) stepped up from a rider of great potential to the real deal, as he became the first Italian to win the Vuelta a España for 20 years.

A fabulous race looked to be a three-way battle between Nibali, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobea-Galicia), with the three tussling for position with only seconds to spare across the second half of the race.

Rodriguez, who held the lead by 33 seconds going into stage 17's time trial, couldn't keep up against the clock, which left Nibali in red and narrowly ahead of Mosquera.

Spaniard Mosquera wasn't going down without a fight, however, and the Vuelta came to every Grand Tour's perfect climax – a head-to-head battle between the two race leaders on a diabolically steep summit finish.

Mosquera attacked with five kilometres  to go seeking to gain the 50 seconds he needed to take the race lead, but Nibali closed the gap to leave the two riders locked in combat as the road tipped ever steeper. The Spaniard accelerated again, stretching around a dozen seconds ahead, before the Italian hit back to catch him with 100m to go.

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) followed up his outstanding Tour de France with three stage wins, securing the points classification in the process.

Podium: Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobea-Galicia), 41s; Peter Velits (HTC-Columbia) 3-02

KOM: David Moncoutie (Cofidis)

Points: Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia)

Tour de France: Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank)

Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador on stage 17 of the 2010 Tour de France

Luxemboug's Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), twice a runner-up in the Tour de France, benefitted from Alberto Contador's positive drugs test to claim the first Grand Tour win of his career.

A close-fought race had came down to the penultimate day's time trial as Contador (Astana) looked to defend the narrowest of leads over Schleck. Just eight seconds separated the two riders going into stage 19, and though the Spaniard was always the better rider against the clock, the margin was too small to take anything for granted. Schleck gave it one hell of a go, posting a two-second advantage at the first time check, but he ultimately faded over the 52km stage, leaving Contador with a 39-second gap in Paris.

Sprinter Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) once again had a Tour to remember, posting five stage victories including a win on the Champs-Élysées, although the green jersey went to Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese).

Denis Menchov (Rabobank) finished third, but was later disqualified due to irregularities in his biological passport.

Podium: Samuel Sánchez (Euskatel-Euskadi), 3-01; Jurgen Van den Broeck (Omega Pharma), 6-15

KOM: Anthony Charteau (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)

Points: Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese)

Giro d'Italia: Ivan Basso (Liquigas)

Ivan Basso wins stage 15 of the 2010 Giro d'Italia (Watson)

A thrilling, rollercoaster race ended with a win for Ivan Basso (Liquigas), claiming his second Giro d'Italia victory four years after his first.

An eventful opening week began with a stage win for Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), not just his first Grand Tour stage win but the first ever by a British team.

Three stages in the Netherlands caused criticism after cluttered street furniture led to countless crashes, and it was a similar story on stage seven, where Wiggins, Carlos Sastre (Cervélo-TestTeam) and pink jersey holder Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) all lost time on treacherously muddy gravel roads.

Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) kept the lead until stage 11, when an epic 56-man breakaway turned the race upside down. With Astana playing a game of brinkmanship with Liquigas, the peloton allowed the break to stretch 17 minutes down the road, and the leading group finished with more than 12 minutes' advantage over the likes of Nibali and Vinokourov. It was enough to put Grand Tour rookie Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) into the pink, and the race was wide open.

Mountain followed mountain and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) took the race lead on stage 14's ascent of Monte Grappa, before Liquigas made their decisive move on stage 19. Riding hard from the off, Basso's team destroyed the peloton on the iconic Mortirolo until just him, Nibali and Michele Scarponi (Androni-Giocattoli) remained – and ultimately it proved enough for overall victory.

Podium: David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne), 1-51; Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas), 2-37

KOM: Matthew Lloyd (Omega Pharma-Lotto)

Points: Cadel Evans (BMC)

2009

Vuelta a España: Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)