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Preview of Vuelta Favourites: Introducing Roberto Heras
 
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 9/5/2002
Preview of Vuelta Favourites: Introducing Roberto Heras
 

By Jakob Duma

Entering the 2002 season, Roberto Heras was still regarded as one of the sport's most excellent climbers, even though the 2001 season had been a disappointment for the Spanish rider. This year has, however, been a whole other story for 28-year-old  Heras. The former Kelme rider started his perfect Tour De France preparation with a strong performance, taking the overall victory in the Tour of Catalonia, the last major Spanish stage race before the Tour de France, and showed his magnificent climbing talents in the Pyrenean mountains. During the Tour de France Roberto Heras served as Lance Armstrong's loyal and trusty lieutenant, setting a blistering pace up the French climbs and delivering his captain into perfect position for the final. Roberto did however also manage to finish inside the first ten in the overall classification, taking 9th spot, not bad taking into consideration that his major assignment was to ride as support during the race.

Now all concentration will be on the Vuelta a España, which is Roberto Heras' dedicated goal as team leader for the season. Having won it already in 2000, nothing but the victory will count for little Spaniard, who will be looking to demolish all opponents in the Spanish mountains, especially the notorious climb up to L' Angliru. The Hell of the South, 13 kilometres with an average gradient of 9,6%, looks perfect for the Spanish climber.

In His Favour: Stage 18, finishing on top of Estación de la Covatilla in (Béjar), Roberto´s hometown, and a climb he knows every slope of, is an ideal place for the Spaniard to take the final iron grip on the race.

Against His Favour: As always the time trails can be a major problem for the US Postal rider, and it is essential that he succeed in limiting his losses against the clock. 

PALMARES: 2002 (US POSTAL)
1 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya GC
8 Vuelta a Burgos GC
9 Tour de France GC
14 Vuelta Ciclisita a Aragon GC
14 Vuelta Ciclista a la Rioja GC
23 Midi Libre GC
29 Vuelta a ciclista a Murcia GC

PALMARES: 2001 (US-POSTAL)
2 Vuelta Ciclisita a Aragon GC
4 VUELTA ESPAÑA GC
15 Tour de France GC
23 Bicicleta Vasca GC

PALMARES: 2000 (KELME)
1 Bicicleta Vasca Stage 5
1 Vuelta España Stage 7
1 Vuelta España Stage 20
1 Vuelta España GC
3 Vuelta Ciclista a la Rioja GC
3 Clasica a los Puertos de Guadarrama
3 GP Primavera
5 Volta a Comunidade Galega GC
5 Tour de France GC

PALMARES: 1999 (KELME)
1 GP Primavera
1 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 6
1 Giro d'Italia Stage 21
2 Spanish Championship
2 GP Llodio
2 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya GC
3 Vuelta España GC
4 Clasica a los Puertos de Guadarrama
5 Giro d'Italia GC
5 Volta a Comunidade Galega GC
7 Escalada a Montjuich GC

Photo courtesy of US Postal

 
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