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Tour of Portugal winner Nuno Ribeiro and two teammates test positive

By Agence France Presse

Recently-crowned Tour of Portugal champion, Nuno Ribeiro, tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO before the race, the rider said confirmed Friday after being notified by cycling’s world ruling body.

Ribeiro also won the race in 2003 but his recent victory is now under a cloud after the results from doping control prior to the race, on August 6, were officially released Friday.

The 32-year-old’s Liberty Seguros team announced Friday that two other riders with the team, Spaniards Hector Guerra and Isidro Nozal, had also tested positive for EPO.

Liberty Seguros, an insurance company, said it will now withdraw its sponsorship of the team. The company was the title sponsor of a ProTour team, before that squad was mired in the controversy surrounding the Operación Puerto case in 2006. Liberty Seguros withdrew its sponsorship of the ProTour team and the squad eventually morphed into what is now Astana.

If Ribeiro waives his right for a B sample to be analyzed, or if he makes that request and it, too, tests positive for the performance-enhancer, he will be disqualified and his victory will go to David Blanco, who finished runner-up in the race.

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