CHRIS FROOME has been declared winner of the 2011 Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain) cycling champion after Juan Jose Cobo was stripped of the title.
The Spaniard had his one and only major title taken away from him after doping irregularities came to light.
This means that Froome is now the official winner and makes him the first Briton to claim a Grand Tour title. Previously Sir Bradley Wiggins was listed in the record books for that honour having taken the 2012 Tour de France.
It also means that Froome has now won seven Grand Tours, fourth equal on the all-time list. He has four Tours de France, two Vueltas and a Giro d’Italia.
“Better late than never!” Froome tweeted. “The 2011 Vuelta holds some very special memories for me.”
Speaking on the Team Ineos website he 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.”
Governing body the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has been retesting blood samples from previous years using modern techniques that are more efficient than previously.
It says abnormalities were found in Cobo’s biological passport from 2009-2011.
The 38-year-old retired rider has been banned for three years and has not appealed.
His win was at the time considered a great surprise as he had achieved little of note previously.
Froome is currently injured after a crash and missing from this year’s Tour de France.
Wiggins has been awarded second place in the 2011 Vuelta and Dutch rider Bauke Mollema third.