As get-well-soon presents to someone in hospital go, it beats a bunch of grapes or book of crossword puzzles – Chris Froome, still in intensive care after sustaining multiple fractures in a crash at the Criterium du Dauphiné, is set to be awarded the 2011 after the winner of the race, Juan Jose Cobo, was today stripped of the title due to irregularities in his biological passport.
Froome finished the race as runner-up, 13 seconds behind the Spaniard, with Team Sky colleague Sir Bradley Wiggins a further 1 minute 13 seconds back in third place. Wiggins is now set to be elevated to second place, with Bauke Mollema, then with Rabobank, completing the podium.
During the race, Froome himself held the overall lead following the Stage 10 individual time trial, but team orders meant he had to work for Wiggins, who moved into the red jersey on the following stage but lost it to Cobo three days later.
In a statement about former Geox rider Cobo published on its website today, world cycling’s governing body, 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. In accordance with the Procedural Rules of the Anti-Doping Tribunal, the decision will be published on the UCI website in due course.
“The decision may be appealed before the Court of Arbitration for Sport pursuant to Article 30.2 of the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal Procedural Rules and Article 74 of the UCI Constitution within one month as of today.”
The UCI added that it would make no further comment at this stage.
Meanwhile, the surgeon who operated on Froome after his crash on a reconnaissance of the Stage 4 time trial route at the Criterium du Dauphiné yesterday says that the Team Ineos rider may be able to return to racing in six months’ time – which with the winter break rules him out of competition for the best part of a year.
Professor Rémi Philippot said that the 34-year-old would remain in hospital in Saint-Étienne for several days and that he may have to undergo further surgery, and that decisions on his plan of treatment were due to be made this morning.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.