The disciplinary committee of the Portuguese Cycling Federation has handed a 12-year ban to Sergio Ribeiro after anomalies were found in his biological passport. It was the Louletano-Dunas Douradas rider’s second doping offence. He previously served a two-year ban after testing positive for EPO in an out-of-competition control in 2007.
“I have a clear conscience and I’ll try to defend myself as clearly as possible in this case by consulting doctors, haematologists and medical specialists on the passport,” Ribeiro told the Lusa news agency. “I have information to hand that tells me that my passport is perfectly normal for an athlete. I’m very sad. This is completely ruining my career and my life.”
It is understood that the anomalies in Ribeiro’s biological passport date back to 2011, when he raced for the Efapel-Glassdrive team, although his directeur sportif at the time, Carlos Pereira, is quoted as saying that “the responsibility is solely Sergio’s.”
Ribeiro’s suspension does not expire until 2025 and is back-dated to January 6, 2011. Ribeiro was also named as Portugal’s rider of the year for 2011 and 2012, and won stages in each of the past two editions of the Tour of Portugal.
The 32-year-old Ribeiro has been a professional since 2002 and has raced exclusively for Portuguese teams during his career.