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Bettini: Heras case "strange from the start"

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) scored his first 2006 win in Mallorca

Paolo Bettini (Quick Step) scored his first 2006 win in Mallorca (Image credit: AFP)

Olympic champion Paolo Bettini does not trust the outcome of the anti-doping test which stripped Spaniard Roberto Heras of his fourth Vuelta a España victory. Interviewed by Spanish Marca, the Quick.Step rider explained he was incredulous with regard to the case. "When news like this one is announced, you never believe it," the Italian said. "It was a strange case since the start: the mess with the counter-analysis, the resources... Moreover, the surprise was even bigger because of Heras' situation - he had his fourth Vuelta win in his hand; he had passed many controls during the race and the only one which was positive was the one on the penultimate day. Not the ones on the days before. With cases like this, you don't know what to think, or what's behind it."

Other Spanish cyclists have given their opinion on the suspension of Roberto Heras to news outlet AS on the last day of the Mallorca Challenge in Magalluf. "It's always the cyclists who pay, and the team continues as if nothing happened," noted triple World Champion Oscar Freire. Phonak's Martin Perdiguero had an altogether different view: "I'm against all the sanctions, as we are free in life and cycling should be, too. This is a show put on by a hypocritical society and it's always the cyclists who pay."

Euskaltel-Euskadi manager Manuel Madariaga added, "It's a strong blow for cycling, and the solutions that they are taking aren't the right ones. Doping will not cease with more sanctions or prosecutions."