Nuno Ribeiro is one of the figures in cycling who has been connected to the word doping the most. Now, he has been attribted a 25-year ban due to his repeated violations and large-scale development of a rule-breaking system within the former W52-FC Porto team.
Ribero, who had been removed from the 2005 Giro d'Italia due to excessively high hematocrit levels was then fired from his World Tour outfit and then returned to Portuguese cycling where he'd spend the rest of his career. In 2009 he was the winner of the famous Volta a Portugal but his title was then stripped due to a positive test for EPO which saw him suspended for another two years. In 2014, his last year as a pro rider, he joined OFM - Quinta da Lixa (which would then become W52 - FC Porto) and later on became a DS in the very same team.
However the habits did not change. What developed over the coming years was a large-scale doping scheme that reached levels almost unseen in the sport's history. Ribeiro was "taking advantage of his status as sports director and the ascendancy that, in this way, he had over the cyclists on his team," the judge who talked on the criminal case explained, naming the substances then that were used.
"He encouraged the use by them of the substances betamethasone, growth hormone (contained in the medicines somatropin, genotroi and saizen), luteinizing hormone (contained in menotropin and artificially stimulated by the medicine gonarodelin), TB-500, IGF hormone, testosterone and insulin, as well as extraction and reintroduction of blood".
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The team was at the forefront of Portuguese cycling and was often competing - and winning - against World Tour teams at the Volta ao Algarve. However in it's domestic calendar, it was the clear dominating team, winning the Volta a Portugal every year it raced it from 2013 to 2021 (although a few title were in the meantime stripped away). Seven riders were suspended due to doping violations and more members of the staff were too last year. The team was officially stripped of it's UCI license in July of 2022.
"The days, times and way of administering the aforementioned substances. He acquired them and then gave them to the cyclists; he kept them at home and in hotels, when in competition, to give to the cyclists; also when in competition, he prepared the substances and left them in syringes in the cyclists' rooms or called them to his room and gave them to them to consume," the shocking report from Publico details. "He always had betamethasone and menotropin available in his hotel room (during competition); he questioned them about what they had taken and when."