March 23, 2006 – Controversy continues to surround Spanish cyclist Robert Heras’ doping affair. Organizers of the Vuelta a EspaÃ±a recently decided to defer the presentation for the corrected 2005 Vuelta results to avoid any potential fallout should Heras’ appeal against his suspension be successful. The ceremony for the revised podium of winner Russian Denis Menchov and Spaniards Carlos Sastre and Francisco Mancebo has been cancelled as race organizers got word that Heras has officially launched a legal challenge to his two-year suspension after having failed anti-doping tests.
Heras won the Vuelta in 2005 under Liberty Seguros’s colours, but tested positive for EPO after stage twenty; as a result he has been given a two-year suspension and stripped of his 2005 Vuelta win.
Vuelta organizer, Unipublic, released this statement Tuesday: “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. 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.”