Alejandro Valverde could be handed Vuelta a España stage victory after Juan José Cobo found guilty of doping

The world champion may take stage glory from the year he won the race overall

Alejandro Valverde at the Amstel Gold Race 2019 (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Alejandro Valverde’s winning record could be extended after the Juan José Cobo was caught doping.

The UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal found Cobo found guilty of taking a performance enhancing drug following the discovery of abnormalities in his biological passport in 2009 and 2011.

Cobo, who retired in 2014, has been stripped of his overall victory at the 2011 Vuelta a España, which could be handed to Team Ineos rider (then Team Sky) Chris Froome.

Spaniard Cobo also won stage 19 of the 2009 Vuelta, which falls into the period of his doping, and that victory could be gifted to Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) who finished second.

Valverde won the 2009 Vuelta overall, but did not take a stage victory in that race.

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The 38-year-old has been stripped of results between August 29 to September 27, 2009, and August 20 to September 11, 2011.

Cobo, who rode with Valverde at Movistar in 2012 and 2013, has until July 13 to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn his sanction, after which his victories during these periods will be redistributed to other riders.

The UCI announced on Thursday (June 13) that the Anti-Doping Tribunal had found Cobo guilty of an anti-doping rules violation and imposed a three-year ban on him, despite his retirement.

He was then stripped of his 10th place overall finish at the 2009 Vuelta and his 2011 overall glory in the Spanish Grand Tour.

Cobo finished the 2011 Vuelta 13 seconds ahead of Chris Froome, and 1-39 ahead of Sir Bradley Wiggins.

News broke as Froome was in intensive care following a horrific crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

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If Froome is crown winner of the 2011 Vuelta, it will make him the first Brit to win a Grand Tour and take his tally of three-week victories to seven.

Vuelta director Javier Guillén has said he thinks Froome should be crowned the winner of that race to avoid a Lance Armstrong situation, where races have been left without a winner.

In 2010, Valverde was also banned for two years after he was linked to the Operation Puerto blood-doping ring through his DNA but he was allowed to keep his 2009 Vuelta win.