Chris Froome brought down the curtain on his Team Sky/Ineos career on Sunday, describing it as “a love story which lasted 11 years”.
The 35-year-old was finally awarded the trophy for the 2011 Vuelta Espana in Madrid, over nine years after the race finished.
Froome was in second place that year behind Juan Jose Cobo to secure his first ever Grand Tour podium finish, with Team Sky teammate 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.
“This victory is truly special for me,” Froome said Sunday. “It was a very special race for me [in 2011]. That’s when I discovered within myself I could become a grand tour rider, and be a candidate to win them. That Vuelta gave me confidence to go the Tour de France, and to strive to win grand tours.”
Sunday’s final stage at the 2020 Vuelta was a special day for Froome as the stage marked his final race in an Ineos Grenadiers jersey after a decade.
“It’s a love story which lasted 11 years” Froome said at the end of the 2020 Vuelta. “It was a very emotional day, my last with the team. I had this on my mind and a lot of memories came back to me.”