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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June, 2004, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Roberto Heras
Roberto Heras
DOB: 1/2/1974
Nationality: Spanish
Best Tour: 2002 - ninth
Roberto Heras will have his first real chance for a shot at the general classification having joined Liberty.

The Spaniard has been an integral part to Lance Armstrong's previous Tour de France successes, helping coax the American up the toughest climbs.

US Postal were loathe to lose Armstrong's most trusted lieutenant, who is clearly well respected in the cycling fraternity.

But Liberty paid 1.1m to release him from his contract and 850,000 a year.

Liberty is the new team of former Once boss Manolo Saiz and there he has teamed up with an impressive array of riders, among them Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano and Isidro Nozal.

Heras' biggest win to date is the Vuelta, which he has triumphed in twice including last year.

Many see him as a major threat to Armstrong, particularly in the mountains, but he still lacks the time trialling ability to match the likes of Armstrong and Jan Ullrich against the clock.

Recently he told the BBC Sport website: "I lose too much time in the time trials which has halted my overall chances in big races in the past."

It remains to be seen how long Heras will keep up with Armstrong et al but expect crowds to be left in awe by his climbing ability, which will surely bring a stage victory on one of the tougher stages this time around.

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