Chris Froome is overjoyed to have received the red jersey of the Vuelta a España 2011 on Thursday. The Briton was awarded the overall victory eight years later due to suspicious blood counts of the then winner Juan José Cobo.
Froome already heard in June that he can call himself the Vuelta winner of 2011 with retroactive effect. The international cycling union UCI already adjusted the official results last month and Froome was given the accompanying red leader's jersey as the icing on the cake on Thursday.
"This really means something to me", says Froome on the Twitter channel of Team INEOS. "The race at the time in 2011 was incredibly special. It was the first time that I really believed that I could compete in large rounds for the overall win."
"It feels a bit strange that I am not named the winner until eight years later. But at the same time it is also very special that I can add this title to my list of honors and I will cherish it for the rest of my life."
"Even though it is being handed to me in hindsight, this will be something I treasure for the rest of my life." Ahead of the 2019 edition, @ChrisFroome has officially accepted his red jersey from the 2011 @lavuelta ❤Avatar
For the app users: click on the tweet for the interview with Chris Froome.
"Would have been different if victory was already clear in 2011"
Due to the assigned final victory for Froome, the 2013 Tour de France is no longer its first big round won. The born Kenyan, who is behind Bradley Wiggins and Bauke Mollema in the new classification, is now also the first Briton to have won a big lap.
"It would have been very different if I had actually won the Vuelta at the time," Froome admitted. "I would have been on that podium in Madrid and there I could really feel that I had won my first big lap and that I am the first British rider to have succeeded. But even now I am very happy with it."
Because of his Vuelta victory in 2011, Froome now has seven final victories in big rounds. He also won the Tour of Spain in 2017 and the leader of Team INEOS also won the Tour de France (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017) four times and the Giro d'Italia (2018) once.
The 74th edition of the Vuelta starts on Saturday with a team time trial. Froome is still recovering from his heavy fall while exploring a time trial in the Critérium du Dauphiné, where he suffered fractures in his thigh, hip, elbow, rib cage and vertebra.