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Spanish Supreme Court restores 2005 Vuelta victory to Heras

Roberto Heras is once again the winner of the 2005 Vuelta a Espana. The Spanish Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling annulling his positive doping test and the loss of the title.

Heras, riding for Liberty Seguros, was leading the Vuelta when he tested positive for EPO after the penultimate stage. The positive doping control was announced in November 2005, and in February 2006, the Spanish cycling federation banned him for two years and stripped him of the title.

Heras did not go to the Court of Appeal for Spot, but appealed the ban through the civil courts. In June 2011, a court overturned his conviction, with the appeal saying that his samples had been incorrectly stored and that the samples are not analysed anonymously.

The Spanish federation appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, which ruled that there were "no grounds" to overturn the lower court decision.

After the title was taken from Heras, the victory was given to Denis Menchov of Rabobank. It is now not clear which of the two will be officially recognised as the winner, nor what might happen with prize money.

Heras, who also won the Vuelta in 2000, 2003 and 2004, told the EFE news agency, "I received the news with great joy. I was hopeful but did not have excessive illusions. It was a big decision for me and I am happy to again have the Vuelta 2005."

Now 38, the Spaniard said that "I never stopped feeling like the winner of the Vuelta and I have great memories of that win."  The suspension was "hard" but with the help of his friends and family, we got through it. He turned to mountain biking, where "I had a great time."

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