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Perez fans demand his comeback

By Hernan Alvarez Macias in Pajares

Although Spain's Santi Perez is from Asturias, the region where the Vuelta a España finished today, the rider was not unable to take part in his hometown race as a consequence of testing positive for homologous blood transfusion just over a week after finished second at the 2004 Vuelta. But today, on the final climb to Pajares climb, his fans had painted the road, asking for 'Santi's' comeback.

"He's from Asturias, from a little town near here and we want him to come back racing," a female fan told Cyclingnews. The paintings on the road say "Santi Perez inocente [innocent]" and "Exijimos ver correr a Santi otra vez" [We demand to see Santi riding again]. Some of them wore white T-shirts with an image of the rider which said "Santi Perez justicia [justice for Santi Perez]". Perez was greatly missed by the public in this year's Vuelta, together with two other Spanish superstars: Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank).

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