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Roberto Heras suing Spanish authorities for €1m for 2005 Vuelta 'positive'

Former Liberty Seguros rider was stripped of title but supreme court last year overturned his ban on a technicality

Roberto Heras is suing the Spanish national cycling federation, the RFEC, and the government sports panel CSD for €1 million in relation to his two-year ban for a positive test for EPO in the 2005 Vuelta, subsequently overturned on a technicality.

Heras, who that year won the Vuelta for the fourth time only to see his title given to Denis Menchov retired following the ban and is claiming compensation for loss of earnings, reports Spanish sports daily AS.

RFEC president Jose Luis Lopez Cerron confirmed to Bloomberg that Heras had sent a fax notifying it of his action, and said the governing body hadn’t yet had a chance to formulate its response. The government has confirmed it intends to contest the former professional cyclist’s claim.

Last year, Heras won a supreme court case concerning an appeal by the Spanish government and the RFEC against an earlier decision that correct procedures had not been followed in the storage and testing of his sample, which had been taken on the penultimate day of the race.

Following that decision, delivered shortly before Christmas, the RFEC said it was likely that Heras, now aged 39, would be reinstated as the 2005 Vuelta winner, but to date that has not happened.

In November, race director Javier Guillen said that Vuelta organisers Unipublic considered Heras to be the winner of that year’s edition, and said they were urging the RFEC and UCI to reinstate him as the official winner.

Heras’s first Vuelta victory came in 2000 when he rode with Kelme-Costa Blanca, moving to US Postal for 2001-03, helping Lance Armstrong win three of the seven Tour de France titles he was stripped of last year.

In his final year at US Postal, Heras won his second Vuelta and 12 months later, now with Liberty Seguros, clinched his third. The 2005 win therefore represented the completion of a hat-trick of wins – until it was taken away from him.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Lungsofa74yearold | 10 years ago

Just as shameless and morally bankrupt as his former team leader Lance. Not to mention being cut from the same cloth as di Luca.

The only person in whole universe thinks he's not a major league dope fiend is Heras himself. Once again cycling is in the toilet. What a scumbag.  14

Colin Peyresourde | 10 years ago

I think the organiser and governing body hold the right to withhold winnings and such like in the case of a dispute etc. I know a legal process has happened, but it's more that the legal process brokedown, rather than a conclusion. It's a bit like USADA's considered opinion. No test was failed. Just circumstantial evidence. It maybe that the civil process doesn't require such a level of probabilities in order to find him guilty......who knows. Watch this space.

All this legal talk and doping is making me feel all warm and gooey about pro sport.....

bobbinogs | 10 years ago

This is one of those stories about legal technicalities that make me despair. When I read the story I thought about that toady lawyer who revels in getting the rich and famous off speeding crimes with loophole larry tactics, shameless shyster that he is...but there are no end of folks queuing up with wads of cash waiting for his services.

Unfortunately, technicality or not, Heras was found not guilty and is therefore entitled to the win and the cash that goes with it. One would hope that 'morals' would kick in at some point...but, let's face it, expecting a cheat to suddenly develop morals when faced with the chance of a million quid in his back pocket is a bit unlikely.

Simmo72 | 10 years ago

Yep mikeprytherch, spot on.

Spain, the dopers friend.

They probably failed to use black ink instead of blue on the test tube label, thus making the whole test void.

I expect they will burn a load of epo laced blood bags sitting in storage as a way of celebration.

I feel really sorry for Menchov because he was as clean as a whistle......honest.

mikeprytherch | 10 years ago

Tell me... was EPO detected in the sample... YES, did the method of storage cause some chemical reaction which spontaneously produced EPO in the sample... NO... therefore you took EPO you t**t, you commitment the crime so accept the penalty.

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