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In a press statement released on Thursday evening, Roberto Heras said, not very surprisingly, that he was very disappointed at being found guilty of doping at the last year's Vuelta, but pledged to fight the two-year ban that the Spanish federation handed down on Wednesday.
"It is not difficult to understand my total disappointment with the federation's decision," said Heras. "I can't accept that my name, my dignity and that of all of my family have been stained by an analysis that offers no type of guarantee."
Heras said he was prepared to accept the federation's decision and sanction, but once again questioned the testing method used. "I regret that the allegations we made have not been viewed with great technical depth and no sense of justice," he declared, before adding that there had been "innumerable errors committed during the process as well as a lack of trustworthyness in the testing method used."
The former Liberty Seguros rider said he was disappointed the authorities' faith in the EPO testing method had remained unaltered despite no less than "five technical and scientific reviews, all of them recent and some instigated by me, that all put into doubt the viability of this method in cases where samples have been taken after a period of intense and prolonged exercise."
Heras did not go into precise details of his complaints, but revealed that he and his legal team are preparing to do so in the courts as he seeks to overturn his ban. He also spoke of his zero tolerance attitude towards doping. Heras said everyone who knew him in cycling was aware that he had always ridden "cleanly and sportingly".
The 31-year-old Spaniard concluded by thanking fans for their support in recent months and asked them to remember him for his sporting achievements and "not for what they have unjustly accused me of". He added that he will keep on cycling "with great passion and a clear conscience".
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