Heras strong, Menchov may be stronger

After another tough Vuelta stage that saw Denis Menchov stay in the leader's gold jersey, Liberty Seguros' team leader Roberto Heras - currently second overall - praised Menchov's strength during the stage and outlined what he thinks will be necessary to beat the Russian. Heras also praised his team, which has been working hard to keep him in all the right places, saying, "The team has done a great work today; it has been very, very good."

The three-time Vuelta winner explained why it was hard to shake off Menchov. "We started very fast in the last climb, but Menchov hasn't shown any weakness so far. We have tried, but on these courses it was rather hard to get rid of him. Today, it was the same as yesterday because these finishes aren't extremely steep, and even though we tried to change the pace, it was very difficult to get rid of him."

As for his own condition after 11 stages of racing, Heras was very upbeat, saying, "I'm still feeling very good, that's the truth, but as Menchov didn't fail it seems as if I didn't do anything."

With today's rest day Heras is looking ahead to where he can gain an advantage on his main rival, "[Stage 14 to ] Lagos is still left; a crucial day because it's a hard climb and being on a wheel will not count. We will see how Menchov reacts, because the fatigue comes to all of us and I'm still having good days. I feel good, and although I wanted to reduce the gap here, I came to the Vuelta to win and I will keep on trying."

Heras also commented on Lance Armstrong's threatened return to the Tour de France. "I think Armstrong's decision is very good," he said. "The only problem that I see is that if the French people do the same thing when the next season ends, he would be in the same situation. Anyway, I perfectly understand his position of defending everything he achieved with so much sacrifice. It's a very sporting position."

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