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Menchov's Vuelta victory celebration delayed

After being found guilty of EPO use following stage 20 of last year's Vuelta a Espana, Roberto Heras has now delayed the awarding of victory to Denis Menchov because of the Spaniard's ongoing legal action. The suspended rider has commenced proceedings against the Spanish Cycling Federation in Valladolid, which could create issues surrounding the final race outcome if he is successful.

The ceremony, which would have awarded a podium place to Francisco Mancebo and made Denis Menchov's victory official has now been postponed from the scheduled March 23 date due to ramifications surrounding Heras' legal action. Vuelta organisers Unipublic stated that, "We have received notice that Roberto Heras has begun legal action against the resolution of the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) after his positive test in the 20th stage of the 2005 Tour of Spain."

Unipublic went on to explain the difficulty of the situation and apologised to the families and sponsors of Menchov, Sastre and Mancebo, who were due to feature in the ceremony. "Although the rider has been sanctioned as expected, Unipublic has decided to call off the ceremony scheduled for March 23 in order to safeguard itself against the possible consequences of legal action. We would like to apologize for the inconvenience caused to the riders Menchov, Sastre and Mancebo, to their teams and their sponsors."

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