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Police search teams in anti-doping raids prior to start of Volta a Portugal

Three teams were targeted and the W52-FC Porto squad saw its license suspended by the UCI last week.

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Two days before Thursday’s start of the Volta a Portugal, police carried out raids Tuesday in related to suspected doping by Portuguese squads.

As reported by JN.pt, three teams were targeted, including Rádio Popular-Paredes-Boavista, Efapel Cycling, and Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor. Each are UCI-registered Continental teams and were due to take part in the national tour.

Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor has confirmed that searches were carried out but, according to JN.pt, has insisted “nothing was found.”

Efapel Cycling also said that police visited the homes of its cyclists and that a statement will be issued by the team in relation to the operation.

As for Rádio Popular-Paredes-Boavista, it claimed on Tuesday that it was unaware of anything.

The news follows the decision last Wednesday by the UCI to suspend the license of another Portuguese squad, W52-FC Porto.

This squad raised eyebrows within the sport, due to top performances and climbing speeds which on occasion matched WorldTour riders.

It won the past seven editions of the Tour of Portugal, but had the 2017 and 2018 victories of Raúl Alarcón removed after he was found guilty of doping.

The Spanish rider was stripped of 19 victories in March of 2021 due to doping, and is suspended until October 2023.

In April of this year, 12 riders from the team were made formal suspects in a doping investigation. In July, eight riders and two mechanics were handed a 120-day suspension by the Anti-Doping Authority of Portugal.

The UCI then took the decision to revoke the team’s license, thus blocking it from the Tour of Portugal and other events.

Police denied making arrests in relation to the latest searches. It remains to be seen if their participation in the Tour of Portugal will be affected by the raids.