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Vuelta a España

'This means a lot to me' - Froome finally gets red jersey for 2011 Vuelta victory

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Chris Froome in line for 2011 Vuelta title after Juan Jose Cobo found guilty of doping

Image credit: Reuters

ByAlexander Netherton
22/08/2019 at 09:09 | Updated 22/08/2019 at 11:10

Chris Froome finally accepted the red jersey for the 2011 Vuelta after retrospectively being declared the winner.

Juan Jose Cobo was the initial victor in 2011, finishing 13 seconds ahead of Froome. Cobo was later found to have transgressed anti-doping regulations, and Froome was declared the new winner of the race in July after the Spaniard's period to appeal expired.

The Team Ineos rider released a video on social media describing his feelings over the victory.

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He 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 when I first started to believe in myself as a Grand Tour contender.

“And it was the race where I had my first professional victory, and I’ve got some really special memories from that race.

“It’s a real purist race. August in the middle of Spain. Temperatures over 40 degrees quite often. It’s one of the most gruelling events on our calendar, if not the toughest. So it’s one of my personal favourites.”

Froome is unable to compete in the 2019 edition after suffering a heavy crash in training for the Criterium du Dauphine, where he incurred a fractured right femur, a fractured elbow, and fractured ribs, which also ruled him out of the Tour de France.

The seven-time Grand Tour champion praised the race in Spain ahead of the start on Saturday.

“The people there are so passionate about cycling. The way they seem to just celebrate the race and when the race comes through they cheer for all riders regardless of your nationality,” he explained.

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

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

“That would have been an amazing feeling. It’s still a special event to me even though it’s been handed to me in hindsight. It still is something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.”

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