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Vuelta a España director Javier Guillén says Roberto Heras could be declared winner once again of the 2005 edition, but he isn’t happy about it.
Last week, a Spanish civil court ruled that there were irregularities in the doping controls that produced a positive test for EPO in the penultimate stage of the 2005 Vuelta, and over-turned a two-year ban.
Spanish cycling federation officials have said confirmed they will appeal the case to Spain’s highest civil court, but no one will be holding their breath. The lower court took nearly six years to reach a decision.
Guillén told the Spanish sports daily AS would follow the lead of the courts.
“It could be years before a decision is made (on an appeal),” Guillén told AS. “If the judges rule that we have to return him (Heras) the title, we would do it.”
Heras tested positive for EPO on the final time trial en route to what was his record fourth win in 2005. The Spanish federation stripped Heras of his title and handed down a two-year ban. Runner-up Denis Menchov was eventually awarded the title.
Heras’s legal team decided to challenge the ruling via civil court rather than take the fight to CAS. After nearly a six-year delay, the court ruled in Heras’ favor last week.
The Heras case could have major implications on how doping cases are adjudicated.
Guillén said that the Vuelta will be studying the case, but said he preferred that sports justice be handed down via the established protocol that includes the final say in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Switzerland.
“I prefer that (doping cases) are not decided this way, above all for the delays and slowness of the ordinary courts. In Heras’s case, we’re seeing important changes six years later,” he said. “And next we have the Contador case and we’ll see how that ends up. I prefer faster procedures of sport justice.”