Chris Froome was finally awarded the trophy for the 2011 Vuelta Espana in Madrid on Saturday, over nine years after the race finished.
Froome finished the race in second place that year behind Juan Jose Cobo to secure his first ever Grand Tour podium finish, with Team Sky team-mate Bradley Wiggins in third.
But in 2019 the UCI announced that the biological passport of Cobo indicated the use of performance-enhancing substances between 2009 and 2011 and the Spaniard was stripped of his title.
Froome was promoted to the overall winner as a result, retrospectively making him Britain’s first ever Grand Tour winner and lifting his individual tally of Grand Tour wins to seven.
Beaming Chris Froome finally receives his trophy for the 2011 Vuelta
Speaking after receiving his trophy ahead of the final stage of the 2020 Vuelta in Madrid, Froome told Eurosport’s Ashley House that it was an extremely special moment for him, particularly given the manner in which he learned about the news in the aftermath of his horror crash at the Criterium Dauphine.
“It’s amazing to finally be given the trophy from the 2011 Vuelta, even more so because of the way I found out that I’d won the Vuelta,” Froome said.
I was lying in ICU, I’d just woken up and they said ‘congratulations you’ve won the 2011 Vuelta’. It was sort of a surreal moment where I almost thought I might be dreaming.
“It’s incredible to be given that trophy now and to be awarded that Vuelta.
Froome - 'The 2011 Vuelta was hugely significant for me, to be given the trophy now is incredible'
“That race for me was a really significant turning point in my career. It was the first time I won a Grand Tour and it was the first time I really had that confidence to ride as a GC rider and then go on to target the Tour de France and more Grand Tours I guess from that win.
“Coming into that Vuelta I was given the job to try and stay with Bradley in the mountains, and I can remember doing that job and helping him in the mountains. I was pulling when I needed to pull, but I felt comfortable doing it.
“Those feelings gave me the confidence and made me start thinking, ‘hold on, you can do this as well’. That was the first time I really started believing in myself as a contender.”