Chris Froome historic Tour double proves what a phenomenal athlete he is, fellow team Sky rider Geraint Thomas says.

Froome wrote himself into the history books on Sunday by becoming the first Briton to claim the Vuelta a Espana title, winning the event in Spain less than two months after his fourth Tour de France triumph.

The 32-year-old, who was presented with an OBE for services to cycling last year, is also the first man in history to win both the Vuelta and the Tour de France in the same year, since a change to the schedule, which has seen the former take place after the French showpiece.

Speaking at Maindy Flyers – his home club in Cardiff – a day after the Tour of Britain finished in the Welsh capital, Thomas insisted Froome’s double success is a truly remarkable achievement.

He told Sky Sports News: To win your fourth tour and stay on the ball for the next month and eat properly and rest properly – I certainly wouldn’t be able to do that.

Massive respect to him for that, and to then go to the Vuelta and to then go through those three weeks again just shows what a phenomenal athlete he is. And mentally he is so strong as well – it’s a pleasure to be riding for him.

Thomas finished seventh in the Tour of Britain but won Olympic gold medals on the track at the 2008 Olympics, and again four years later at London 2012.

Maindy Flyers head coach, Alan Davis, said: The growth of cycling here has been enormous. After Geraint won gold in Beijing we saw growth, the club doubled but after London the club quadrupled.

We probably had a dozen 15 riders [at the beginning] now we have over 150 and that’s entirely down to the effect of people like Geraint [and fellow Maindy Flyers alumni] Owain Doull, Luke Rowe, Elinor Barker – it’s down to all of them.

It’s great to now hear the kids not talking about great foreign stars but about Geraint, about Luke, about Owain, about Chris Froome, and it’s wonderful that team Sky is a British team that is there. It’s wonderful.

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(c) Sky News 2017: Chris Froome’s Vuelta and Tour de France success hailed by Geraint Thomas

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