João Rodrigues, winner of the 2019 Volta a Portugal and the 2021 Volta ao Algarve, was today suspended for seven years, while six other W52-FC Porto cyclists received three-year sanctions from the Portuguese Anti-Doping Authority.
According to the list of disciplinary sanctions updated today by the Anti-Doping Authority of Portugal (ADoP), João Rodrigues will serve a four-year punishment imposed by the International Cycling Union, for anomalies in the biological passport, and another three years for “possession of a prohibited method”.
Rui Vinhas and Ricardo Mestre, winners of the Tour of Portugal in 2016 and 2011, respectively, are sanctioned for three years, for “possession of a prohibited substance and prohibited method”, the same reason mentioned by the ADoP to suspend for the same period Ricardo Vilela, Daniel Mestre, José Neves and Samuel Caldeira.
At the end of April, 10 cyclists from the W52-FC Porto were accused and the team’s sports director, Nuno Ribeiro, was even arrested, as well as his deputy, José Rodrigues, during the ‘Clean Test’ operation, in charge of the Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DIAP) of Porto.
In the police operation, “various substances and clinical instruments were seized, used in the training of athletes and with an impact on their sporting performance”, then detailed the Judiciary Police.
On 15 July, eight cyclists (João Rodrigues, Joni Brandão, Rui Vinhas, Ricardo Mestre, Ricardo Vilela, José Gonçalves, Samuel Caldeira and Daniel Mestre) were preventively suspended by the Anti-Doping Authority of Portugal (ADoP), which, in late August, , also suspended José Neves and Jorge Magalhães.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) would withdraw the sporting license from the W52-FC Porto before the Volta a Portugal.
Source: Futebol 365 – Notícias by www.futebol365.pt.
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