Roberto Heras

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Roberto Heras
File:050905 heras menchov 5.jpg
Heras in 2005
Personal information
Full name Roberto Heras Hernández
Born (1974-02-01) 1 February 1974 (age 49)
Béjar, Spain
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight 59 kg (130 lb)
Team information
Current team Retired
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type Climbing specialist
Professional team(s)
1997–2000 Kelme–Costa Blanca
2001–2003 U.S. Postal Service
2004–2005 Liberty Seguros
Major wins
Tour de France
1 Stage

Giro d'Italia

1 Stage

Vuelta a España

General classification (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005)
Points classification (2000)
Combination classification (2002, 2005)
10 Stages
Infobox last updated on
22 December 2012

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]

Early career

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 Armstrong

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. Heras was at some point of the 2002 Tour de France strong enough to finish 2nd to Armstrong in the 12th stage, in front of Armstrong's main rival of that year, Joseba Beloki of the O.N.C.E – Eroski team.

Dominating the Vuelta a España

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 the following year, 2000 (when he also won two stages and the points classification). This was in 2003 followed by another victory in the Vuelta a España

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.[3] 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).[4] 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]


All results are general classification (overall) rankings unless otherwise indicated:

Vuelta a España
1997 – 5th; Stage 12 win
1998 – 6th; Stage 19 win
1999 – 3rd
2000 – Jersey gold.svg1st; Stage 7 and 20 wins
2001 – 4th
2002 – 2nd; Stage 6 and 15 wins
2003 – Jersey gold.svg1st; Stage 20 win
2004 – Jersey gold.svg1st; Stage 12 win
2005: Jersey gold.svg – Disqualified for doping after finishing 1st; Stage 6 and 15 wins. Reinstated as winner in December 2012.
Tour de France
2000 – 5th
2001 – 15th
2002 – 9th
2003 – 34th; Stage 4 (Team time trial) win
2004 – DNF
2005 – 45th
Giro d'Italia
1999 – 6th; Stage 21 win
Volta a Catalunya
1999 – 2nd; Stage 6 win
2002 – 1st
Brompton World Championships
2009 – 1st
2008 – 2nd

Grand Tours overall classification results timeline

Grand Tour 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Pink jersey Giro  –  – 5  –  –  –  –  –  –
Yellow jersey Tour  –  –  – 5 15 9 34 WD 45
gold jersey Vuelta 5 6 3 1 4 2 1 1 1

WD = Withdrew

See also