Heras says that he always felt like the rightful winner of the 2005 Vuelta
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Heras says that he always felt like the rightful winner of the 2005 Vuelta

by VeloNation Press at 12:09 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España, Doping
 
Spaniard says a high standard needs to be followed in doping controls

Vuelta a EspanaTold yesterday by the Spanish Supreme Court that it would not change the earlier civil court decision to clear him of doping during the 2005 Vuelta a España, Roberto Heras has said that he always savoured the result in that race.

“I never stopped feeling like the winner of the Tour,” he told EFE. “I have great memories of that win because I lived with great emotion, and nobody was able to take that away from me.”

Heras finished an unexpected second in the final time trial of the race, clocking up a time just fractions of a second slower than that of the day’s winner Ruben Plaza. He provided a sample after the stage which was subsequently revealed to show the presence of artificial EPO, and was handed a two year ban as a result. Denis Menchov, the runner-up in the race, became the winner.

Heras decided to fight on and took a case to the Contencioso Administrativo del Tribunal Superior de Justicia civil court. He won his case last year, with that court saying that his complaints were valid. He had claimed that the samples took 40 hours to be delivered rather than 24, arrived at room temperature rather than being refrigerated, and were transported by people who were not identified.

Heras’ legal team also claimed that the ‘A’ and ‘B’ samples were analysed by the same people and that they were aware of the name of the person they were testing, thus violating the requirements for anonymity.

Unhappy with the result, the Spanish Cycling Federation RFEC and the state attorney appealed to the Supreme Court. However it said yesterday said that there were no grounds to appeal against the first judgement.

"I received the news with great joy,” said Heras. “In June 2011 a big step was made and then with the appeal we didn’t know what would happen. I was hoping but I didn’t presume anything. This is a very important decision for me and I am very happy because I reclaim the 2005 Vuelta. I’m going to celebrate with my family and my friends.

“Ever since the counter-analysis we said that irregularities had occurred and that my sporting career could not be weighed down by doing things wrongly. You have to do those things [doping controls and analysis] more rigorously because that’s what we ask of athletes.”

Meanwhile the race director of the Vuelta a España has said that he will name Heras as the winner of the 2005 race once the verdict is made official. “If the decision of the Supreme Court states that the sanction should be revoked and the federation tells us that, then we will restore Roberto Heras as winner of the 2005 race.”

It is not clear if an appeal is possible, or planned.

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