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Heras returns

Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros)

Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros) (Image credit: Unipublic)

Roberto Heras (Liberty Seguros-Würth) will return to racing at the Setmana Catalana from March 21-25. The man who has won the Vuelta a España three times and been a valuable helper to Lance Armstrong in his Tour de France victories, has been keeping up his training schedule during winter and starts racing with a desire for victory, be it smaller races or his season's goal: the Tour de France.

"What I can't understand is feeling good, and not being competitive," Heras said. "For training, I stay at home. What I do need to ascertain is my level of fitness in competition, in relation to the others. Because I think I'm well prepared, but I don't know how the others will be. It's clear that I don't want to go unnoticed."

This year, Heras is participating in his first race later than in the years before. "Normally, when I had to ride the Tour, I started with the Vuelta a Murcia," he said. "Last year, I started in Mallorca and did Milano-Sanremo before Setmana Catalana. The Tour de France and the Vuelta a España being my goals, starting a little bit later gives me a margin not to burden myself with too many competitions along the season." Heras, who hasn't been suffering any illnesses during his off-season except for the 'flu at Christmas, will be helping his teammates Koldo Gil and Alberto Contador in the upcoming Setmana Catalana.

"I'm really looking forward to starting again," he continued. "The Setmana Catalana motivates me, although it is not a ProTour race. I have always been riding it and know it well. Moreover, we will pass through my home, Girona. The first three stages will be pretty hard, especially the third one, which might be decisive. The 16 km time trial on the last day will only tighten the final classification."

Roberto Heras is one of the main contenders for overall classification victory at the Tour de France, and that's what has been on his mind lately: "I hope to do well at the Tour. I think we have the right team to ride a great Tour, if all turns out right. After that, there's the Vuelta but I can't think of that now. When you've set your mind on the Tour, you have to concentrate on it exclusively. You can start to think about other objectives only once you've finished it," he concluded.

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