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