7 W52-FC Porto riders get doping bans, former Volta a Portugal winner João Rodrigues banned for 7 years

W52-FC Porto has been suspended and had it's UCI license removed earlier this year due to suspicions of doping, and seven of it's riders have been suspended including three former Volta a Portugal winners.

João Rodrigues, one of the country's uprising prospects over the last few years and winner of the 2019 Volta a Portugal - and 2021 Volta ao Algarve - has been suspended for a total of seven years. Like six of his teammates, he was suspended for three years for "possession of prohibited methods", according to Agência Lusa, but has also had the UCI add another four years due to anomalies in the biological passport.

Amongst the riders suspended were Rui Vinhas and Ricardo Mestre, winners of the Volta a Portugal in 2016 and 2011. José Neves, Ricardo Vilela, Daniel Mestre and Samuel Caldeira - all prominent names in the Portuguese peloton over the last decade have also been suspended due to possession of prohibited methods (it is believed that it is substances).

Jóni Brandão, Amaro Antunes, José Gonçalves and Jorge Magalhães were the only riders to escape a ban, alongside youngster Guilherme Mota who has retired following the team's end. There are reports that there is the effort to re-build the team under a different name, security measures and with a focus on under-23 riders.

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