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Spain to pay cyclist €720,000 for overturned doping ban

The Spanish state has been ordered to pay over €720,000 in damages to former cyclist Roberto Heras for his reversed suspension for doping between 2006 and 2008, according to a court decision obtained by AFP.

Spain to pay cyclist €720,000 for overturned doping ban
Roberto Heras. Photo: AFP

Spain's national court in Madrid, which specialises in financial affairs, said in its decision that the amount of €724,904.86 corresponded to what Heras could have earned during his two-year suspension.

After testing positive for the banned hormone EPO in September 2015 after the Vuelta a Espana, Heras had his victory in the race stripped and was banned for two years by the Spanish cycling federation causing him to retire.

The ban was subsequently overturned in the Spanish courts in 2012 due to irregularities in the screening of his urine test.

Judge Berta Santillan Pedrosa ruled the Spanish state was responsible for the error and liable to compensation to Herras.

Lawyers for the state have until February 8 to lodge an appeal.

The cyclist and his company, Bejar&Barcycling Sport SL, who manage his image rights had lodged their case against the state in January 2015, claiming over a million euros in compensation to offset losses caused by the sanction.

Heras, 42, is the only man to win the Vuelta four times having also won in 2000, 2003 and 2004.

The decision is another legal setback in the fight against doping in Spain, which has often been accused of being a soft touch on drugs in sport.

In 2013 anti-doping authorities were angered when a judge ordered the destruction of over 200 blood bags seized from the premises of doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who was convicted for endangering public health by providing blood-doping services to cyclists.

Appeals against the destruction of the blood bags, which played in major part in damaging Madrid's bid for the 2020 Olympic games, are still being processed in the Spanish courts.

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CYCLING

VIDEO: Why you may struggle to buy a bike in Europe in 2021

Demand for bicycles has soared in Europe during the coronavirus pandemic, but conversely the global supply is at record low levels, with consumers having to wait months or over a year for their bike of choice.

VIDEO: Why you may struggle to buy a bike in Europe in 2021
Photo: Stocksnap/Pixabay

Bikes are projected to outsell cars in Europe by two to one by 2030.   

But 2021 will not be an easy year to buy a bike in many European countries, especially if you have a particular model in mind. 

Firstly, there's been a huge surge in demand for bikes during the pandemic, as Europeans looked for ways to stay fit and move around more freely without having to worry about being exposed to Covid-19 on public transport.

On the flip side, bike production in China, which supplies almost the entire global market, has practically ground to a halt.

The same can be said for bicycle accessories and components, which are either not being produced in Chinese factories currently or held up for months in ports in Asia due to the reduction of capacity in shipping.

 

In this short report, video producer Alex Dunham explores the issue of Europe's bike shortage in 2021.

 

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