‘It would have been so different had I won it back then’: Chris Froome officially accepts 2011 Vuelta a España red jersey

Froome has been crowned victor after Juan José Cobo was stripped of the result for doping

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Chris Froome has officially accepted the red jersey from the 2011 Vuelta a España after the original winner was stripped for doping.

Team Ineos rider Froome has been crowned the winner after Juan José Cobo was disqualified eight years later for an anti-doping violation.

Froome, who finished second, 13 seconds back on Cobo, has officially accepted the leader’s jersey.

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The now-seven-time Grand Tour winner said: “This title, this red jersey really does mean a lot to me. That race back in 2011 was incredibly special for me. It was the first race where I started to believe in myself as a Grand Tour contender.

“To be named the winner eight years on really does feel a bit strange on the one hand, but at the same time it’s a really special one to add to my palmarès.

“It would have been so different had I actually won it back then, being able to stand on that podium in Madrid, really soak up the feeling of winning my first Grand Tour and being the first British rider to win a Grand Tour, that would have been an amazing feeling.”

In June, the UCI announced that retired rider Cobo had been banned for three years after the Anti-Doping Tribunal ruled he had committed a doping offence.

The 38-year-old was given the opportunity to appeal the ban, but when the deadline passed he was stripped of his results at the 2009 Vuelta and World Championships and the 2011 Vuelta.

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Froome is now the winner of the 2011 Spanish Grand Tour, now his first Grand Tour win two years before his first Tour de France victory. He is now also the first Brit to win a Grand Tour.

The 34-year-old, who is still out injured after an awful crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné, said: “Even though it’s been handed to me in hindsight, it’s still something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.”

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.