With the news that Roberto Heras has been stripped of his 2005 Vuelta a España win for doping, Denis Menchov and the Rabobank team are quietly celebrating their first ever grand tour victory. Menchov finished 4'36 behind Heras on GC, but will be elevated to first unless Heras successfully appeals against his sanction.
"It's nice to know that I'm the first winner of a grand tour, but to do it like this is really different," said Menchov to De Telegraaf. "For my own confidence, the way that I rode was a huge stimulus."
Rabobank's Theo de Rooij was similarly reserved, but still proud of his team's performance. "This is still a milestone," he said. "We voiced our ambition in 2002 that we wanted to win a grand tour, and that has now happened. And this can be a boost in the lead up to the upcoming Tour d eFrance, where Denis wants to make up for [last year]. He fell through the ice there, but through this performance Denis knows that he has the condition to win a grand tour. And in Spain he didn't even use his light bike, because, as he said at the time: "I'll keep this for when it's really going well."