Roberto Heras

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Roberto Heras
Personal information
Full name Roberto Heras Hernández
Born (1974-02-01) 1 February 1974 (age 43)
Béjar, Spain
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight 59 kg (130 lb)
Team information
Current team Retired
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type Climbing specialist
Professional team(s)
1997–2000 Kelme–Costa Blanca
2001–2003 U.S. Postal Service
2004–2005 Liberty Seguros
Major wins

Grand Tours

Tour de France
1 TTT stage (2003)
Giro d'Italia
1 individual stage (1999)
Vuelta a España
General classification (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005)
Points classification (2000)
Combination classification (2002, 2005)
10 individual stages

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,[1] and this decision was upheld in the Spanish supreme court in December 2012. The Spanish cycling federation subsequently reinstated Heras as 2005 Vuelta champion.[2]

Early career[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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.[3] 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).[4] 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.[1] 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.[2] In January 2016, Heras was awarded €724,000 in compensation from the Spanish state,[5] a sentence that was confirmed on 9 May 2017.[6]

Career achievements[edit]

Major results[edit]

1995
3rd Overall Baby Vuelta a Espagne
1997
1st Subida al Naranco
3rd Clasica a los Puertos de Guadarrama
5th Overall
1st Stage 12 Vuelta a España
1998
1st Klasika Primavera
2nd Subida al Naranco
3rd Clasica a los Puertos de Guadarrama
6th Overall Vuelta a España
1st Stage 19
1999
1st Klasika Primavera
2nd Overall Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
1st Stage 6
2nd National Road Race Championships
2nd Cuenca Castilla y Leon
2nd Criterium Comunidad Foral de Navarra
2nd GP Llodio
2nd GP Jatorena
3rd Overall Vuelta a España
3rd Trofeo Corte Inglès
5th Overall Giro d'Italia
1st Stage 21
2000
1st Jersey gold.svg Overall Vuelta a España
1st Points classification
1st Stages 7 & 20
1st Stage 5 Euskal Bizikleta
1st San Sebastián de los Reyes Cyclo-cross
1st Valencia Criterium
1st Critérium Foral de Navarra
2nd Criterium Comunidad Foral de Navarra
3rd Overall Vuelta Ciclista a la Rioja
3rd Klasika Primavera,
5th Overall Tour de France
2001
2nd Overall Vuelta Ciclista a Aragón
3rd Trofeo Corte Inglès
4th Overall Vuelta a España
2002
1st MaillotVolta.png Overall Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
1st Stage 1
1st Trofeo Ciutat de L'Hospitalet
2nd Overall Vuelta a España
1st Jersey light blue.svg Sprint classification
1st Stages 6 & 15
9th Overall Tour de France
2003
1st Jersey gold.svg Overall Vuelta a España
1st Stage 20
2nd Overall Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
1st Stage 4 (TTT) Tour de France
2004
1st Jersey gold.svg Overall Vuelta a España
1st Jersey white.svg Combination classification
1st Stage 12
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Euskal Bizikleta
2005
1st Stages 6 & 15 Vuelta a España
1st GP Jatorena
2009
1st Brompton World Championships

Grand Tour general classification results timeline[edit]

Grand Tour 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
A pink jersey Giro d'Italia 5
A yellow jersey Tour de France 5 15 9 34 DNF 45
A gold jersey Vuelta a España 5 6 3 1 4 2 1 1 1
Legend
Did not compete
DNF Did not finish

See also[edit]

References[edit]