GUILTY: The 2011 Vuelta a Espana champion Juan Jose Cobo (centre) has been caught doping, meaning Froome (right) may be retrospectively awarded the victory

BRITISH cyclist Chris Froome is in line for the 2011 Vuelta a Espana title after its winner has been caught doping.

Spanish rider Juan Jose Cobo has been stripped of his title by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) after abnormalities in his biological passport were found.

Froome finished second in the race, eight years ago, meaning the 34-year-old may now be retrospectively awarded the victory.

PERIL: Chris Froome in France before his crash

It would also go down in history as Britain’s first Grand Tour win, as Froome’s victory would be prior to Bradley Wiggins lifting the Tour de France trophy in 2012.

It comes after Froome recently underwent an eight-hour surgery following a horror crash that leaves him out of this year’s Tour de France.

Team Ineos, which rebranded from Team Sky this year, confirmed its rider suffered a fractured right femur, broken hip, fractured elbow, fractured ribs and lost consciousness during the Criterium du Dauphine race.

STRIPPED: Cobo, being cheered on (above) to his 2011 victory on home turf, has had his title taken away

The four-time Tour de France champion was travelling at 37mph and hit the deck whilst attempting to blow his nose in high winds outside the town of Roanne.

His team have now said a six-hour operation was a ‘success’ and that they are ‘very happy with his progress’.

Meanwhile, 38-year-old Cobo, who doped between 2009 and 2011, could now appeal the UCI’s decision in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The retired, former Movistar rider, has a month to make his decision.

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