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“Better late than never”

Chris Froome has officially been awarded the 2011 Vuelta a España title as a result of Juan José Cobo’s doping ban. The result means he now has seven Grand Tour victories to his name, including Britain’s first.

Cobo, now retired, was stripped of the title last month due to irregularities in his biological passport.

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.”

Cobo had the right to appeal within 30 days, but failed to do so and the UCI has now updated its results.

Froome finished the 2011 Vuelta as runner-up, 13 seconds behind Cobo, with Team Sky colleague Bradley Wiggins a further 1 minute 13 seconds back in third place. Both riders move up a spot with Bauke Mollema, then with Rabobank, completing the podium.

Froome said: "The Vuelta in 2011 was in many ways my breakthrough race, so this red jersey is special for me. 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."

The news of Cobo’s ban broke a day after Froome had crashed at high speed while warming up for the time trial at the Criterium du Dauphiné. He broke his neck, femur, elbow, hip and ribs.

After three weeks in hospital, he was released for rehabilitation. The Press Association has reported that this week he started riding on an indoor training bike using one leg.

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