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‘Better late than never’: Froome welcomes declaration of 2011 Vuelta win

It is Froome’s seventh title from one of cycling’s three-week races.

‘Better late than never’: Froome welcomes declaration of 2011 Vuelta win

Chris Froome has welcomed the decision to officially declare him the winner of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana following a doping case involving Juan Jose Cobo.

It is Froome’s seventh title from one of cycling’s three-week races, and retrospectively makes him Britain’s first Grand Tour winner, beating Sir Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France victory by 10 months.

“Better late than never!” Froome wrote on Twitter. “The 2011 @lavuelta holds some very special memories for me.”

The tweet included a picture of Froome in the race leader’s red jersey, which he wore for one day after the stage 10 individual time trial.

On the Team Ineos website, Froome added: “The Vuelta in 2011 was in many ways my breakthrough race, so this red jersey is special for me.

“I guess it’s extra special too, because – even though it’s eight years on – it was Britain’s first Grand Tour win.

“The Vuelta is a race I love and I have always felt a great connection with it and the Spanish fans.”

World governing body the UCI had announced last month that the now-retired Cobo had been found “guilty of an anti-doping violation (Use of a prohibited substance) based on abnormalities from 2009 and 2011 detected in his Biological Passport” and ruled him ineligible for a period of three years.

The Spaniard had 30 days in which to appeal against the sanction but has not done so, with the UCI updating the results on its official website on Wednesday.

A UCI statement on Thursday morning said: “The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirms that no statement of appeal has been submitted to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the decision of the UCI Anti-doping Tribunal concerning Juan José Cobo Acebo.

“As the deadline for appeal has expired, the three-year suspension against Juan José Cobo Acebo is hence confirmed.”

Cobo has been stripped of his results for the period between 2009 and 2011, which included 10th place in the 2009 Vuelta as well as his victory in 2011.

Cobo, riding for Geox-TMC, had beaten Froome by 13 seconds eight years ago, with Froome’s fellow Team Sky rider Sir Bradley Wiggins third, one minute and 39 seconds down. The British pair are now listed as first and second.

Froome adds the title to his Tour de France wins in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, his Vuelta win in 2017, and the 2018 Giro d’Italia crown.

Chris Froome Handout Photo
Chris Froome with his Tour de France and La Vuelta jerseys from 2018 (PA)

News of Cobo’s doping violation last month came just a day after Froome was involved in a horror crash during a reconnaissance ride at the Criterium du Dauphine.

The 34-year-old suffered a broken femur and broken ribs amongst a long list of injuries, ending his hopes of a record-equalling fifth Tour crown this July.

Froome spent a full three weeks in hospital before being released for rehabilitation, and has this week been riding on an indoor training bike using one leg.

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