LONDON (AFP) - Six-time Olympic champion Chris Hoy hailed Chris Froome's Tour de France triumph as a monumental achievement after the Team Sky rider on Sunday made it back to back British victories in the event.
Froome came safely through the final stage to win the 100th Tour by a margin of four minutes 20 seconds from Colombia's Nairo Quintana and finished the race in tears as the significance of his achievment began to take hold.
The 28-year-old's success means Britain has now produced two successive Tour de France winners after Sky team-mate Bradley Wiggins last year became the first Briton to win the prestigious event.
It is a remarkable era for British cycling, with Wiggins also winning a gold medal at last year's London Olympics, but Hoy insisted it is important not to underestimate the magnitude of Kenya-born Froome's victory.
"It is a huge achievement and I almost feel sorry for Chris because people are almost getting blase about it," Hoy said.
"People think it is another British winner so that is what we should expect - but if you take a step back and get some perspective, you can see what a monumental achievement it is for him to have done this.
"For Britain to have two riders winning the Tour de France back-to-back is fantastic for British cycling.
"Just a few years ago we did not have anyone who could podium but now we have two cyclists who can win the Tour in consecutive years, it is a phenomenal achievement and what Chris has done is phenomenal."
Wiggins pulled out of this year's Tour through injury, meaning that Froome immediately became the hot favourite to bring home the honours. He delivered in spectacular fashion, but recently retired Scottish rider Hoy admitted he would have enjoyed watching the pair battle it out for the title.
"I think it would have been lovely to have seen Bradley racing this year and it would have been fantastic to see both him and Chris competing. But last year was Bradley's year and this year is Chris's," Hoy added.
Froome's triumph was recognised by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who took to Twitter to salute the victory and also draw attention to the Tour starting in Britain in 2014.
"A brilliant win by Chris Froome," he tweeted. "After two British winners it's only right the Tour de France comes to Yorkshire next year." Meanwhile, Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson said: "Congratulations to Chris Froome, Dave Brailsford and all at Team Sky for Froome's fantastic Tour De France win.
"He rode superbly for three weeks and no doubt will have inspired even more people to participate in cycling." Brian Cookson, president of British Cycling, insisted Froome's success was just reward for a "wonderful athlete".
"Chris is a very different rider, a very different person from Bradley but he is a wonderful athlete and the team have been absolutely first class, despite a couple of problems, accidents, crashes and so on," he said.
"It's a team victory with a brilliant individual at the head of the team." Cookson hopes Britain's sudden dominance of the Tour will serve to further boost the popularity of cycling in the country.
"Our membership at British Cycling has grown by 50 percent in the last 12 months," he added. "It has been an absolutely brilliant year for British cycling with the Olympics, with Bradley winning last year's Tour and now this year's Tour.
"We've had some fantastic performances and there has never been more people riding bikes in Great Britain and I'm sure the increase is set to continue."