Spain’s Movistar has announced the signing of Portuguese hopeful Rui Costa, who has returned to the peloton following a doping ban.

Rui Costa, whose previous wins include the Four Days of Dunkirk and a stage on the Tour of Switzerland, has signed a deal until the end of 2011 with an option for two extra years.

The 24-year-old Portuguese tested positive test for the stimulant methylhexanamine in June 2010 following his victory in the national time trial championship.

Rui Costa was notified of his infraction in August following his participation in the Tour de France, during which he notably hit the headlines for a post-stage punch-up with Spaniard Carlos Barredo.

He was initially handed a one-year doping ban, which was reduced to five months on appeal. The ban ended on January 12, 2011.

Several top level athletes, notably rugby players, have tested positive for methylhexanamine of late. They blamed the contamination of food supplements.

Movistar is the continuation of the former Caisse d’Epargne team, whose star rider Alejandro Valverde is currently serving a doping ban.