Watch Chris Froome give signed race number to young pro completing his first Grand Tour
In his final race for Ineos, Froome offered a heart-warming gift to a young pro
Chris Froome offered a heart-warming gift to a young pro completing his first Grand Tour at the Vuelta a España.
Froome and UAE Team Emirates rider Rui Oliveira were marking very different landmarks in their career as the Vuelta finished in Madrid on Sunday (October 8) - Froome ended his time with Ineos Grenadiers, while Oliveira successfully made it through his first three-week race.
In an inspiring moment caught on camera by Oliveira’s team, Froome offered up a signed race number to 24-year-old Oliveira, who is riding his second season at WorldTour level.
Oliveira said: “Last days I asked him if I could have number signed from him. Today he presented me with that.
“Such a classy guy I have followed and admired for a long time and doing my first Grand Tour racing alongside him is special and even more so with this gift.
“Thank you Chris Froome.”
Portuguese pro Oliveira, riding alongside his brother and team-mate Ivo, successfully made it through the Vuelta at his first attempt, finishing 119th on general classification, four hours down on the race winner.
His best stage result was 17th on stage four.
Froome was also marking a turning point in his career on the final stage of the Vuelta, as it was his last time racing in Ineos colours after a decade with the British WorldTour squad.
After winning seven Grand Tours, including two Vuelta titles, Froome is joining Israel Start-Up Nation in 2021, as he hopes to get back to his winning form after serious injuries suffered last season.
At the stage of stage 18, Froome was also officially awarded the 2011 Vuelta a España trophy, which he won after the winner at the time, Juan José Cobo, was stripped of the title in 2019 for doping.
The Brit had initially discovered he had won the 2011 Vuelta while lying in the intensive care unit after his awful crash last year.
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Froome said: “Obviously being here and being awarded that trophy this morning, that brought back a lot of memories from that period and I guess the progression I had to get to that point,” Froome continued. “It kind of puts everything in perspective.”
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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