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Spain rider overturns 2005 doping test

MADRID -- Spanish cyclist Roberto Heras has reclaimed his crown for the 2005 Tour of Spain after the Supreme Court confirmed the overturning of a positive doping test in the race.

Heras, 38, who rode alongside disgraced Lance Armstrong in the U.S. Postal Service team from 2001-2003, tested positive for banned substance EPO, or erythropoietin, in the 20th stage of the 2005 Vuelta.

The Spanish cycling federation imposed a two-year ban in 2006 after finding he had taken the substance, a hormone that regenerates red blood cells.

But Heras took his case to the high court of the Spanish region of Castile and Leon, which last year overturned the doping ban, reportedly because of irregularities in the handling of the test.

The Supreme Court upheld that decision on Friday, denying an appeal by the Spanish state attorney and cycling federation. As a result, Heras “is the winner of the race,” the cycling body said in a brief online statement.

Heras is now the only cyclist to have won four editions of the Vuelta (2000, 2003, 2004 and 2005).

“Thanks very much to all you who supported me during these interminable seven years,” the rider said on his Twitter account.

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