• Chris Froome is awarded a trophy for his 2011 Vuelta victory (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Chris Froome (Ineos Grenadiers) had a special presentation at the start of the final stage of the 2020 Vuelta a España to acknowledge his victory in the 2011 Vuelta some nine years after the race took place.
SBS Cycling Central

9 Nov 2020 - 10:29 AM  UPDATED 9 Nov 2020 - 1:13 PM

Froome finished second behind Juan José Cobo in 2011 after riding in support of Bradley Wiggins for the first part of the race, a fact that likely cost him a shot at his first Grand Tour victory as he finished just 13 seconds behind Cobo.

In June of 2019, the Union Cycliste International declared that its Anti-Doping Tribunal found Cobo "guilty of an anti-doping rule violation (Use of a prohibited substance) based on abnormalities from 2009 and 2011 detected in his Biological Passport and imposed a three-year period of ineligibility on the rider".

Cobo did not contest the decision and last year Froome was crowned the official winner of the race with Wiggins moving up to second as a result.

Froome promoted to 2011 La Vuelta winner
Kenyan-born Briton Chris Froome has reportedly been awarded 2011 Vuelta a España victory after Juan José Cobo has been excluded for doping.
The wheels of fortune turn for Cobo, Froome and van Aert
The lead into a Tour de France is often filled with high drama and splashy headlines, and this week, before the GC battle was about to begin in earnest at the Critérium du Dauphiné, the rocks or diamonds existence for cycling’s elite was laid bare.

At the start of the final stage if this year’s Vuelta a España, the race organisers recognised Froome’s 2011 win with a special trophy that was awarded at the start of the stage. Talking to journalists after the presentation, Froome recalled the moment when he learnt of his elevation to the Vuelta win, in recovery from a horrible crash during the Criterium du Dauphine.

“It’s a really special victory," said Froome. "I have really special memories obviously looking back to this period, but also the way I was told about this victory, when I woke up the day after my big accident last year."

“I was in ICU still when I was told: ‘Congratulations, you’ve won La Vuelta.’ That was a really strange feeling. It was such a special race to me. It’s where I first discovered myself as a Grand Tour rider and a GC contender. It gave me confidence to then go on to the Tour de France, to keep targeting Grand Tours. I certainly hope next season I’ll be here in a different capacity.”

Froome hasn't been his normal self in his return to the professional peloton, but showed increasing form during the 2020 Vuelta, riding in support of team leader Richard Carapaz.

Froome admitted that he wasn’t quite at the level he wanted to be at as he prepares for life after Ineos Grenadiers in 2021, posting this on Twitter.

“Today I will complete my first Grand Tour since that crash and although it was not at the level I had hoped & worked for, I’m proud to have completed this step on my journey back to where I want to be. Muchas Gracias."

The race also marks Froome's last with INEOS Grenadiers, with which he has raced for 11 years, taking four Tours de France, one Giro d'Italia and two Vueltas in an impressive return.