Heras shows his sharpness

Roberto Heras has been quietly preparing for the Tour de France, but gave the first indication of hi

HERAS Roberto ( ESP ) 
Roberto Heras has been quietly preparing for the Tour de France, but gave the first indication of hi

Roberto Heras wasn’t putting too much store on his performances before the month of June, telling procycling a couple of months back he would gauge his readiness for the Tour de France based on his performances in last week’s Bicicleta Vasca and next week’s Tour of Catalonia. The former event finished yesterday with a summit finish at the famous Basque mountain of Arrate. Heras went into the stage second overall behind team-mate Angel Vicioso, who had won Saturday afternoon’s time trial. Although Liberty Seguros team manager Manolo Saiz was tentatively eyeing an unprecedented 1-2-3 finish for Vicioso, Heras and Koldo Gil, the final stage did not pan out exactly as Saiz would have been hoping. Vicioso fell away before the Arrate, leaving Gil and a couple of team-mates to protect Heras from concerted attacks by the Euskaltel and Saunier Duval teams. On the final climb, though, Heras showed he had the measure of everyone in the race when his attack split the lead group. Surprisingly, however, Heras did not have the climbing legs to maintain a solo effort, and was himself attacked by Roberto Laiseka, who took the stage win. Heras came in fourth, in the same time as Saunier duo Perdiguero and Piepoli, to clinch what was ultimately a decisive overall victory. Strangely for Heras, though, it was a win based on time trialling and climbing efficiency rather than brilliance in the mountains. Both he and Saiz will be pleased with the performance, but both will be hoping that there is a lot more to come at the Tour. Stage 5, Abadi¤o-Arrate 1 Roberto Laiseka (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 132km in 3.47.34 (34.80kph) 2 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Saunier Duval 0.22 3 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval 4 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros 5 Txema Del Olmo (Spa) Milaneza 0.40 6 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel 0.48 7 Unai Yus (Spa) Brioches La Boulangre 8 David Latasa (Spa) Comunitat Valenciana-Kelme 9 Alberto Martinez (Spa) Relax-Bodysol 10 Luis Perez (Spa) Cofidis 11 Tom Danielson (USA) Fassa Bortolo Final overall standings 1 Roberto Heras (Spa) Liberty Seguros 18.07.31 2 Roberto Laiseka (Spa) Euskaltel 1.24 3 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel 1.36 4 Koldo Gil (Spa) Liberty Seguros 1.40 5 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel 1.47 6 Txema Del Olmo (Spa) Milaneza 1.54 7 Luis Perez (Spa) Cofidis 2.00 8 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Saunier Duval 2.10 9 Angel Vicioso (Spa) Liberty Seguros 2.29 10 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval 2.37