Chris Froome is officially the winner of the 2011 Vuelta a España, taking the title from Juan José Cobo who has had his results disqualified after the UCI banned him for an anti-doping violation.
The Spaniard had been sanctioned in June by the UCI, which said he used a banned substance after irregularities were found in his biological passport in 2009 and 2011. Cobo had the option to appeal the ban in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but no appeal was been submitted before the deadline.
The 38-year-old has also been given a three-year ban as well as having his results at the 2009 Vuelta and Road World Championships and the 2011 Vuelta removed.
It means Froome has been awarded the overall victory of the 2011 Vuelta having originally finished second at 13 seconds, with the UCI posting a revised general classification. Bradley Wiggins moves up to second from third, while Dutchman Bauke Mollema takes his first Grand Tour podium spot as he moves to third from fourth.
Froome is now a seven-time Grand Tour winner, adding a second Vuelta title to his victory in 2017, along with his 2018 Giro d’Italia victory and four Tour de France titles from 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The 34-year-old is currently out of action following a horrific crash in a time trial recon at the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné in June, and won’t return to racing this year.
As well as the overall victory, Cobo has lost his stage victory atop the Alto de l’Angliru where he took the red jersey from Wiggins on stage 15. That means that Wout Poels, now part of Team Ineos but riding for Vacansoleil at the time, is given the win, the first Grand Tour stage win of his career. Alejandro Valverde is also handed a 12th Vuelta stage win after Cobo was stripped of his stage 19 victory in 2009.
Both Froome and Team Ineos (formerly Team Sky) posted on social media on Thursday morning acknowledging the UCI statement and another Grand Tour victory for the team – the first overall Grand Tour win for a Briton with it preceding Bradley Wiggins’ triumph at the 2012 Tour de France.
Froome said it was “better late than never.”
“The Vuelta in 2011 was in many ways my breakthrough race, so this red jersey is special for me,” Froome later said in a statement. “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.”
Team Ineos are currently racing at the Tour de France where Geraint Thomas leads the team alongside Egan Bernal. The pair sit second and third on GC currently, 1-12 and 1-16 down on race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) respectively.
The 2019 Vuelta a España takes place from August 24 to September 15, opening with a team time trial in Torrevieja. Britain’s Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) is expected to try and defend his overall title after completing the Tour de France.