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Former Cyclist To Receive Compensation For Doping Sanction

The Spanish Supreme Court has announced former professional cyclist Roberto Heras will receive €724,000 (£612,242/US$792,338) in compensation after his doping sanction was overturned.

The Spaniard was banned from competition between 2006 and 2008 after he failed an anti-doping test for banned blood-booster Erythropoietin also known as EPO on the day of the 2005 Vuelta a Espana‘s final time trial. Heras was removed from the Liberty Seguros team and his overall victory in the 2005 Vuelta a Espana was later erased and the win was handed to runner up, Russian Denis Menchov.

The Spanish former professional road bicycle racer who won the Vuelta a Espana a record-tying three times subsequently appealed against the sanction. Heras claimed that his samples had been mishandled during the testing procedure. Heras, who broke the record with a fourth win in 2005 but was disqualified, took the case to the Supreme Court after successfully appealing against the Spanish cycling federation. The move did not go in favor of the Spanish Cycling Federation and the Spanish Supreme Court upheld the decision. A civil court in Castile and Leon ruled that irregularities had taken place in the analysis of blood samples in the investigation. In 2012, the Supreme Court upheld that decision and ordered Heras be reinstated as the 2005 Tour of Spain winner. The Spanish cycling federation then reinstated Heras as the 2005 Vuelta winner.

The Spanish state was ordered by the Court to hand €724,000 to Heras as compensation after assessing the damage caused to Heras’s career and earnings. The Court originally set the compensation amount in the year 2016 and the sum has now been confirmed. It was announced by the Court that the sanction caused Heras to be deprived of performing as a professional cyclist during the time of the sanction, regardless of whether the termination of those contracts involved third parties.

Heras sued the Spanish state for over 1 million euros in damages in 2013. The Supreme Court ruled in his favor but reduced the amount to compensation to 725,000 euros that it said was half the salary he received in his last year as a cyclist.

In 1995, Heras turned professional for the Spanish cycling team Kelme and his first win as a pro came in 1996 in the Subida al Naranco. Heras then went on to win the 12th stage of the Vuelta a Espana later that year.  A year later, Heras won another stage at the Vuelta and the Clásica de Amorebieta and took two stages and the overall win in 2000 that attracted the US Postal cycling team. Heras, as a climbing specialist, raced alongside Lance Armstrong on the US Postal Service team from 2001.

In 2007, Heras announced his retirement from pro cycling but came back to win the Brompton folding bike world championship in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, in 2009. During his career, Heras also finished top-five at the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia, won the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and ten stages of the Vuelta.

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Albert Wolfgang
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