Chris Froome set to be awarded 2011 Vuelta after Juan Jose Cobo receives doping ban

UCI says abnormalities found in Spanish rider's biological passport from 2009 to 2011...

As get-well-soon presents to someone in hospital go, it beats a bunch of grapes or book of crossword puzzles – Chris Froome, still in intensive care after sustaining multiple fractures in a crash at the Criterium du Dauphiné, is set to be awarded the 2011 after the winner of the race, Juan Jose Cobo, was today stripped of the title due to irregularities in his biological passport.

Froome finished the race as runner-up, 13 seconds behind the Spaniard, with Team Sky colleague Sir Bradley Wiggins a further 1 minute 13 seconds back in third place. Wiggins is now set to be elevated to second place, with Bauke Mollema, then with Rabobank, completing the podium.

During the race, Froome himself held the overall lead following the Stage 10 individual time trial, but team orders meant he had to work for Wiggins, who moved into the red jersey on the following stage but lost it to Cobo three days later.

In a statement about former Geox rider Cobo published on its website today, world cycling’s governing body, the UCI, said: “The Anti-Doping Tribunal found the retired rider 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. In accordance with the Procedural Rules of the Anti-Doping Tribunal, the decision will be published on the UCI website in due course.

“The decision may be appealed before the Court of Arbitration for Sport pursuant to Article 30.2 of the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal Procedural Rules and Article 74 of the UCI Constitution within one month as of today.”

The UCI added that it would make no further comment at this stage.

Meanwhile, the surgeon who operated on Froome after his crash on a reconnaissance of the Stage 4 time trial route at the Criterium du Dauphiné yesterday says that the Team Ineos rider may be able to return to racing in six months’ time – which with the winter break rules him out of competition for the best part of a year.

Professor Rémi Philippot said that the 34-year-old would remain in hospital in Saint-Étienne for several days and that he may have to undergo further surgery, and that decisions on his plan of treatment were due to be made this morning.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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