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Sunday, 5 November, 2000, 14:07 GMT
Heras confirms US switch
Roberto Heras and Richard Virenque
Heras pursues Richard Virenque in the Tour de France
Tour of Spain winner Roberto Heras has confirmed that he he will be joining Lance Armstrong's US Postal team next season.

"I am very thankful to the Kelme team but my future is in America with the US Postal team," he said after winning a race near Madrid on Saturday.

Heras said Sunday's race in Hospitalet near Barcelona would be his last in the green and white Kelme jersey.

He admitted in September that he had a verbal agreement to become a US Postal rider, but it now looks as if he will be on his way sooner rather than later.

Double Tour de France winner Armstrong had made it clear he was determined to sign the Spanish rider who finished fifth in this year's Tour and is rated one of the best specialist climbers in the world.

Buy-out

Heras is under contract to the Spanish Kelme team until 2001, and US Postal will have to pay a buy-out clause estimated to be in the region of $1m to secure his services.

Pepe Guiles, the Kelme team's owner, has threatened to pull out of cycling after losing a number of key riders to rival teams.

Specialist climber Fernando Escartin, seventh in the Tour of Spain and third in the 1999 Tour de France, has agreed to ride for the German outfit Team Coast-Wattenscheid next season.

Jose Luis Rubiera, who finished 11th in the Tour of Spain, has already signed for the US Postal team.

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See also:

03 Nov 00 |  Other Sports
Symbolic doping damages sought
19 Sep 00 |  Other Sports
Heras to join US Postal team
17 Sep 00 |  Other Sports
Heras strolls to Tour of Spain win
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