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Roberto Heras Hernández (born 1 February 1974) is a Spanish former professional road bicycle racer who won the Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain) a record-tying three times. He broke the record with a fourth win in 2005, but was disqualified for taking EPO. In June 2011, Heras successfully appealed the disqualification in the civil court of Castilla y León,[1] and this decision was upheld in the Spanish supreme court in December 2012. The Spanish cycling federation subsequently reinstated Heras as 2005 Vuelta champion.[2]

Roberto Heras
Personal information
Full nameRoberto Heras Hernández
Born (1974-02-01) 1 February 1974 (age 45)
Béjar, Spain
Height1.72 m (5 ft 7 12 in)
Weight59 kg (130 lb; 9 st 4 lb)
Team information
Current teamRetired
Rider typeClimbing specialist
Professional team(s)
1997–2000Kelme–Costa Blanca
2001–2003U.S. Postal Service
2004–2005Liberty Seguros
Major wins
Grand Tours
Tour de France
1 TTT stage (2003)
Giro d'Italia
1 individual stage (1999)
Vuelta a España
General classification (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005)
Points classification (2000)
Combination classification (2002, 2005)
10 individual stages

Stage races

Volta a Catalunya (2002)

Early careerEdit

Heras turned professional in 1995 for the Spanish cycling team Kelme. His first win as a pro came in 1996 in the Subida al Naranco. Later that year he won the 12th stage of the Vuelta a España. Next year he won another stage at the Vuelta and the Clásica de Amorebieta. In 1999 he won stages at the Volta a Catalunya and the Giro d'Italia, and he stood for the first time on the Vuelta's podium, third despite not winning a stage. In 2000 he took two stages and the overall win, which attracted the US Postal cycling team.

Riding with Lance ArmstrongEdit

From 2001, he raced alongside Lance Armstrong on the US Postal Service team. As a climbing specialist, he assisted Armstrong in the mountain stages of the Tour de France. Heras achieved his highest position in the 2000 Tour when he was fifth.

During the 2002 Tour de France Lance Armstrong was in 2nd place overall going into stage 11 where the race entered the high mountains. Going up the final climb on the Tourmalet Heras set such a dominating pace at the front of the fragmented Peloton that all of Armstrong's rivals were dropped with the exception of Joseba Beloki. The ride put in by Heras set up Armstrong to take over the Yellow Jersey from the ONCE-Eroski team lead by Beloki, Abraham Olano and Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano who was in the overall lead at the start of Stage 11. Beloki finished 2nd overall in the stage as Heras came in 3rd with both riders behind Armstrong who finally launched his attack for the stage win. The next day in Stage 12 once again Roberto Heras set such a furious pace on the final climb that all of Armstrong's rivals were dropped with the exception of Beloki except this time it was Heras who crossed in 2nd while Beloki took third. [3]

Dominating the Vuelta a EspañaEdit

He had, however, already established himself as a contender for honours in other Tours. He was fifth and a stage winner in the 1997 Vuelta, sixth (and another stage victory) a year later, and third in 1999; that year he finished sixth and won a stage in the Giro d'Italia. His first Vuelta win came in 2000 (when he also won two stages and the points classification), and he won again in 2003.

At the end of 2003, he left US Postal to lead the Spanish Liberty Seguros team. He was thought to be a contender for the 2004 Tour de France but abandoned after the 16th stage due to lack of fitness.[4] Heras entered the Vuelta a España and won, equalling Tony Rominger's record three wins. During the first mountain stages, it seemed an easy win but in the last week he had a challenge from Santiago Pérez.

In the 2005 Vuelta a España, Heras won two mountain stages (including the Estación de Esquí de Pajares) and lost the last time trial by less than a second, something nobody expected from the non-time-trial-specialist Heras. Heras won for the fourth time, a record.

However, a drug test in November 2005, two months after the race, showed a positive test for EPO from the day of time trial (stage 20).[5] Heras was fired and faced a two-year suspension. His Vuelta win was given to second-place finisher, Russian Denis Menchov.

Heras appealed, alleging inaccuracies in the testing and mishandling of his samples. He appealed this decision in the civil court of Castilla y León, and was successful.[1] The Spanish cycling federation appealed at the Spanish supreme court, but in December 2012 this court upheld the decision; the Spanish cycling federation subsequently reinstated Heras as 2005 champion and Heras went on to sue the federation for over one million euro in purported lost earnings.[2] In January 2016, Heras was awarded €724,000 in compensation from the Spanish state,[6] a sentence that was confirmed on 9 May 2017.[7]

Career achievementsEdit

Major resultsEdit

3rd Overall Baby Vuelta a Espagne
1st Subida al Naranco
3rd Clasica a los Puertos de Guadarrama
5th Overall Vuelta a España
1st Stage 12
1st Klasika Primavera
2nd Subida al Naranco
3rd Clasica a los Puertos de Guadarrama
6th Overall Vuelta a España
1st Stage 19
1st Klasika Primavera
2nd Overall Volta a Catalunya
1st Stage 6
2nd Road race, National Road Championships
2nd Cuenca Castilla y Leon
2nd Criterium Comunidad Foral de Navarra
2nd GP Llodio
2nd GP Jatorena
3rd Overall Vuelta a España
3rd Trofeo Corte Inglès
5th Overall Giro d'Italia
1st Stage 21
1st   Overall Vuelta a España
1st   Points classification
1st Stages 7 & 20
1st Stage 5 Euskal Bizikleta
3rd Overall Vuelta Ciclista a la Rioja
3rd Klasika Primavera
5th Overall Tour de France
2nd Overall Vuelta Ciclista a Aragón
3rd Trofeo Corte Inglès
4th Overall Vuelta a España
1st   Overall Volta a Catalunya
1st Stage 1
1st Trofeo Ciutat de L'Hospitalet
2nd Overall Vuelta a España
1st   Sprints classification
1st Stages 6 & 15
9th Overall Tour de France
1st   Overall Vuelta a España
1st Stage 20
1st Stage 4 (TTT) Tour de France
2nd Overall Volta a Catalunya
1st   Overall Vuelta a España
1st   Combination classification
1st Stage 12
1st   Overall Euskal Bizikleta
1st   Overall Vuelta a España
1st   Combination classification
1st Stages 6 & 15 Vuelta a España
1st GP Jatorena
1st Brompton World Championships

Grand Tour general classification results timelineEdit

Grand Tour 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
  Giro d'Italia 5
  Tour de France 5 15 9 34 DNF 45
  Vuelta a España 5 6 3 1 4 2 1 1 1
Did not compete
DNF Did not finish

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Spanish civil court rules Roberto Heras 2005 doping positive invalid". Velonews. June 24, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Heras sues for one million euros -".
  3. ^ "2002 Tour de France results".
  4. ^ "Roberto Heras' Vuelta mountain guide". 12 July 2003 – via
  5. ^ " - the world centre of cycling".
  6. ^ Fotheringham, Alasdair (30 January 2016). "Spanish state sentenced to pay Roberto Heras €724,000 in compensation". Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  7. ^ "Roberto Heras' state compensation of €724,000 confirmed". 9 May 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2017.