Former Vuelta a España winner arrested for suspected robbery in Spain

Aitor Gonzalez was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday morning for involvement in a break-in at a mobile phone shop

Aitor Gonzalez with Roberto Heras and Joseba Beloki at the 2002 Vuelta a España (Yuzur Sunada)

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Retired cyclist and 2002 Vuelta a España winner Aitor Gonzalez has been arrested for alleged involvement in a break-in at a mobile phone shop in Alicante, Spain.

The 41-year-old, who has been arrested three times for various offences in the past, was caught by police in the early hours of Tuesday morning at the property where a window had been smashed.

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According to Spanish website Diario Informacion, Gonzalez denied any involvement in the robbery and claimed he had met the person responsible at a party that night and that they had fled the scene before police arrived. The newspaper reported that the former Euskaltel-Euskadi rider was provisionally released after giving evidence to police.

Gonzalez has had previous encounters with the authorities. He was arrested in 2007 for driving under the influence of alcohol and cocaine, before a further arrest followed in 2008 for hiring three people to beat-up someone who owed him 300,000 euros. His most recent arrest prior to Tuesday came in 2011 after an alleged involvement in a bank scam.

The Basque rider's career featured a number of impressive results with seven Grand Tour stage wins, including one at the Tour de France. He took his two GC wins with one in the Vuelta in 2002 and another at the Tour de Suisse in 2005.

Gonzalez's career came to an abrupt end in 2006 after he received a two-year doping ban for testing positive twice during the 2005 season. He was also linked to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes and Operacion Puerto, but denied he had received doping products from Fuentes when they had been working together at the Kelme team where Gonzalez rode between 1998 and 2002.

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