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  1. ITV Report

Chris Froome could retrospectively become Britain's first Grand Tour winner as he recovers from high-speed crash

Chris Froome (R) was just 13 seconds behind Juan Jose Cobo (L) in the Vuelta a Espana. Credit: AP

Chris Froome stands to retrospectively become Britain's first Grand Tour winner and add a seventh title to his collection after 2011 Vuelta a Espana champion Juan Jose Cobo was found guilty of a doping violation.

The UCI announced on Thursday that Cobo had been found "guilty of an anti-doping violation (Use of a prohibited substance) based on abnormalities from 2009 and 2011 detected in his Biological Passport".

As a result he was ruled ineligible for a three-year period and will lose his 2011 Vuelta crown.

Froome finished second in the race with Sir Bradley Wiggins third.

The news comes with Froome in intensive care in France following a serious crash on Wednesday.

Chris Froome stands to retrospectively become Britain's first Grand Tour winner and add a seventh title to his collection. Credit: PA

The cyclists doctor told ITV News it is likely his recovery will take up to six months but revealed the cyclist wants rehabilitation to start as soon as possible.

Rémi Philippot, who performed surgery on the sportsman, told ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott: "I was very surprised this morning because he feels very good, he is totally conscious about the trauma.

"The first thing he wanted; he wanted to know if he can already begin the rehabilitation, so it's very surprising."

Mr Philippot explained how the champion cyclist's rehabilitation will likely take up to six months, but he added "there is no neurological lesions which is a very good point".

He said: "When there is no neurological lesions the rehabilitation is quicker."

Froome suffered his injury during a practice ride prior to stage four of the Criterium du Dauphine in Roanne, France, on Wednesday - ruling him out of the Tour de France.

But the cyclist could be awarded a medal from his hospital bed if things go his way.

Juan Jose Cobo won the the 2011 Vuelta, beating Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins. Credit: AP

Cobo, riding for Geox-TMC, won the 2011 Vuelta by just 13 seconds from Froome, with Wiggins one minute 39 seconds down in Spain.

The 38-year-old Spaniard has one month in which he can launch an appeal against the decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

But should the ban stand and Cobo lose his title, Froome will become Britain's first Grand Tour winner, 10 months before then Team Sky team-mate Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012.

A spokesperson for La Vuelta told Press Association Sport that organisers are awaiting the full decision from the UCI before making any statement.