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Heras in 2005
|Full name||Roberto Heras Hernández|
1 February 1974 |
|Height||1.72 m (5ft, 7.7in)|
|Weight||59 kg (130 lbs)|
|Rider type||Climbing specialist|
|Infobox last updated on
22 December 2012
Roberto Heras Hernández (born 1 February 1974) is a Spanish former professional road bicycle racer who won the Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) a record-tying three times. He broke the record with a fourth win in 2005, but was disqualified for taking EPO. In June 2011, Heras successfully appealed the disqualification in the civil court of Castilla y León, and this decision was upheld in the Spanish supreme court in December 2012. The Spanish cycling federation subsequently reinstated Heras as 2005 Vuelta champion.
Heras turned professional in 1995 for the Spanish cycling team Kelme. His first win as a pro came in 1996 in the Subida al Naranco. Later that year he won the 12th stage of the Vuelta a España. Next year he won another stage at the Vuelta and the Clásica de Amorebieta. In 1999 he won stages at the Volta a Catalunya and the Giro d'Italia, and he stood for the first time on the Vuelta's podium, third despite not winning a stage. In 2000 he took two stages and the overall win, which attracted the US Postal cycling team.
Riding with Lance Armstrong
From 2001, he raced alongside Lance Armstrong on the US Postal Service team. As a climbing specialist, he assisted Armstrong in the mountain stages of the Tour de France. Heras achieved his highest position in the 2000 Tour when he was fifth. Heras was at some point of the 2002 Tour de France strong enough to finish 2nd to Armstrong in the 12th stage, in front of Armstrong's main rival of that year, Joseba Beloki of the O.N.C.E – Eroski team.
Dominating the Vuelta a España
He had, however, already established himself as a contender for honours in other Tours. He was fifth and a stage winner in the 1997 Vuelta, sixth (and another stage victory) a year later, and third in 1999; that year he finished sixth and won a stage in the Giro d'Italia. His first Vuelta win came the following year, 2000 (when he also won two stages and the points classification). This was in 2003 followed by another victory in the Vuelta a España
At the end of 2003, he left US Postal to lead the Spanish Liberty Seguros team. He was thought to be a contender for the 2004 Tour de France but abandoned after the 16th stage due to lack of fitness. Heras entered the Vuelta a España and won, equalling Tony Rominger's record three wins. During the first mountain stages, it seemed an easy win but in the last week he had a challenge from Santiago Pérez.
In the 2005 Vuelta a España Heras won two mountain stages (including the Estación de Esquí de Pajares) and lost the last time trial by less than a second, something nobody expected from the non-time-trial-specialist Heras. Heras won for the fourth time, a record.
However, a drug test in November 2005, two months after the race, showed a positive test for EPO from the day of time trial (stage 20). Heras was fired and faced a two-year suspension. His Vuelta win was given to second place finisher, Russian Denis Menchov.
Heras appealed, alleging inaccuracies in the testing and mishandling of his samples. He appealed this decision in the civil court of Castilla y León, and was successful. The Spanish cycling federation appealed at the Spanish supreme court, but in December 2012 this court upheld the decision; the Spanish cycling federation subsequently reinstated Heras as 2005 champion and Heras went on to sue the federation for over one million euro in purported lost earnings. 
All results are general classification (overall) rankings unless otherwise indicated:
- Vuelta a España
- 1997 – 5th; Stage 12 win
- 1998 – 6th; Stage 19 win
- 1999 – 3rd
- 2000 – 1st; Stage 7 and 20 wins
- 2001 – 4th
- 2002 – 2nd; Stage 6 and 15 wins
- 2003 – 1st; Stage 20 win
- 2004 – 1st; Stage 12 win
- 2005: – Disqualified for doping after finishing 1st; Stage 6 and 15 wins. Reinstated as winner in December 2012.
- Tour de France
- 2000 – 5th
- 2001 – 15th
- 2002 – 9th
- 2003 – 34th; Stage 4 (Team time trial) win
- 2004 – DNF
- 2005 – 45th
- Giro d'Italia
- 1999 – 6th; Stage 21 win
- Volta a Catalunya
- 1999 – 2nd; Stage 6 win
- 2002 – 1st
- Brompton World Championships
- 2009 – 1st
- 2008 – 2nd
Grand Tours overall classification results timeline
WD = Withdrew
- "Spanish civil court rules Roberto Heras 2005 doping positive invalid". Velonews. June 24, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
- BBC Sports Academy, Roberto Heras' Vuelta mountain guide
- Cycling News, November 2005, Cycling News Flash – Heras confirmed positive