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"We respect the courts. For us, Heras is the winner of the 2005 Vuelta. We are in the process of communicating this to the [Spanish] federation and the UCI. There is a conviction and we respect the decision," race director Guillen...






12.11.2013 @ 16:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Following last year's ruling by the Spain's highest court that overturned Roberto Heras' doping suspension for his positive test at the 2005 Vuelta a Espana, the Vuelta race director, Javier Guillen, has made it clear that organizers Unipublic regard the Spaniard as the winner of that year's edition of the Spanish grand tour. On a press conference, Guillen explained that Heras should be reinstated as the winner of the event, thus taking away the win from Denis Menchov who had previously been awarded the victory.


Almost 10 years ago, Roberto Heras and Denis Menchov stood on the podium in Madrid at the end of the 2005 Vuelta a Espana after a close battle that had seen the Spaniard take his fourth overall victory in the Spanish grand tour. While years have gone by and both riders have now retired, the final winner of the race has, however, still not been found.


Heras  tested positive for the banned blood-booster EPO on the penultimate stage of the race and the Spanish cycling federation responded by banning him for two years and annulling his win. Instead, Menchov was declared winner of the race and now holds the place of 2005 victor on the official winners list.

Heras retired after serving the ban, pointing to a lack of quality offers from elite racing teams but he continued to fight his disqualification. In June 2011, a lower court overturned the ban due to irregularities in the investigation and last year Spain’s highest court rejected an appeal brought by the Spanish cycling federation and government lawyers against the decision that cleared Heras from the ban.


Since then, not much has happened in the case and Menchov is still regarded as the official winner of the race. On a press conference in Alcobendas yesterday, Vuelta race director Javier Guillen was, however, asked to comment on the matter and he made it clear that Heras is indeed the winner of the 2005 edition of his race.


"We respect the courts," he said. "For us, Heras is the winner of the 2005 Vuelta. We are in the process of communicating this to the [Spanish] federation and the UCI. There is a conviction and we respect the decision."


If the UCI reinstates Heras, his grand tour tally will have been brought back up to four. On the other hand, Menchov will be left with the wins he took at the 2007 Vuelta and the 2009 Giro d'Italia.


Menchov retired earlier this year.



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