Wout Poels has been handed his first Grand Tour stage victory – eight years after he crossed the line behind doper Juan José Cobo.
Team Ineos domestique Poels rode to second place on the brutal Angliru stage at the 2011 Vuelta a España, behind stage and overall winner Cobo.
In June, the UCI announced that an investigation into Cobo’s biological passport found the Spaniard had used a banned substance in 2009 and 2011.
Cycling’s international governing body then confirmed on Thursday (July 18) that Cobo would be stripped of his results at the 2011 Vuelta, handing the overall to Chris Froome (Team Ineos) and the stage 15 Angliru summit finish to Poels.
Speaking at the Tour de France 2019, Dutchman Poels, who was then riding for Vacansoleil-DCM told Cycling Weekly: “If you look back it’s pretty s*** that it’s true he was cheating.
“But its good they can take him out so many years later so I think that’s a good thing. Fair play to the UCI that they still chase the cheaters.
“I didn’t put my hands in the air, I didn’t stand on the podium, I didn’t get my bonus [he said, laughing]. It’s nice to say I won on the Angliru but on the other hand you also didn’t get the podium and everything. That’s why you become a bike rider, to put your hands in the air.
“All the emotion you get normally with a victory you don’t have, so I think I’ll have to go back again.”
Last month the UCI announced that Cobo, now 38, had been found guilty of doping based on irregularities in his biological passport in 2009 and 2011, and imposed a three-year ban on the retired rider.
He was given the opportunity to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but the deadline passed and Cobo had not submitted a statement to the authority, prompting the UCI to confirm the ban and strip him of his results.
Cobo was disqualified from the 2009 World Championships, where he did not finish the road race and was 42nd in the time trial, and the 2009 and 2011 Vueltas.
At the 2011 Vuelta Cobo, then riding for the Spanish Geox-TMC Transformers Professional Continental team, rode to overall victory ahead of Sky Procycling riders Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins.
Cobo’s disqualification bumps Froome up to overall winner of that Vuelta, technically becoming the first ever British Grand Tour winner.
Poels has also been handed stage 15, his first and only Grand Tour victory.
The 31-year-old said: “It doesn’t do a lot, it doesn’t change anything. It’s good that they take the cheaters out of course, even so many years later, so that’s a good thing. For me personally it’s not like you really think you won the stage.
“It’s really nice for Chris to have his seventh Grand Tour victory, but I think it’s also a weird one for him to get a victory so many years later.”