The Week That Was...
Ian comments on the happenings in the world of cycling.
Another week, another rider tested positive. This week it is the turn of four-time Vuelta a Espana winner, Roberto Heras. The Liberty Seguros rider has tested positive for EPO in stage 20 of the Spanish national tour earlier this year.
Upon receiving the news, his team immediately suspended Heras after it became known that the news had been leaked to the press. Heras for his part admitted to the El Pais newspaper that he was, ?very surprised. I am convinced it is a mistake because I have never taken anything."
In a separate interview with the Onda Cero radio station, he tried to explain his positive result. "They told me the news at the end of October. The only thing I can think of is that it is a laboratory error."
"My lawyers and the team are working on the case as we speak and there will be a 'B' test on November 21. I don't want to start speculating about whether the samples could have been mixed up, but when they open the samples for the second test we want to be there," he said.
His B sample will be tested at three different WADA accredited laboratories to ensure that there is no alleged mistake or contamination the second time around. Consejo Superior de Deportes (CSD) in
Should the B-test also return a positive result, the 2005 Vuelta victory will be stripped from Heras and awarded to Russian Denis Menchov of the Dutch Rabobank team.
Victor Cordero, Director of the Vuelta, told the Reuters news service that a positive B sample would be ?a disaster for cycling in general and, within that context, for the Tour of Spain."
"On a purely personal level, I am hoping that the second test will be negative," Cordero said. "But if we have to take action, and Heras loses his title, we will take it, even if I am surprised that it has taken such a long time for the test result to come out."
The German news agency, DPA, claims that Heras was specifically targeted by the UCI following his dramatic improvements in form following his poor Tour de France performance.
Jesus Manzano, the disgraced former Kelme rider heralded the positive test of Heras. In an interview with AS, he said, "It doesn't surprise me that Roberto is positive, not him or any other. What seems obvious to me is that Roberto is not the only one."
"They said I was just one rotten apple, but I believe the entire tree is rotten. It's not just Roberto. The others need to speak!"
He went on to add that, "It is all about money. The ones getting rich are the doctors, not the riders. Heras has earned a good salary, but most of us don't earn anything like that. But I have seen a doctor ask six million pesetas for his services [about US$40,000]. For aspirins