Portugal’s Costa brothers suspended over failed dope tests

Rui and Mario both test positive for a banned stimulent, the Portugese cycling federation says.

Portuguese cyclist Rui Costa and his brother Mario were provisionally suspended Monday after failing drug tests during the Tour of Portugal, the Portuguese Cycling Federation announced.

Rui Costa, formerly of the Caisse d’Epargne team, and Mario Costa, an ex-Barbot-Siper rider, were tested at the conclusion of the race’s time trial on June 25, in which they finished first and third respectively.

Both men tested positive for the stimulant methylhexaneamine, which has been a banned substance since January this year.

“It’s a provisional suspension. An inquiry has been opened and a decision will be taken quickly,” said Portuguese Cycling Federation president Artur Lopes, who added that there were “four or five other similar cases”.

The Costa brothers released a statement in which they said they had taken a dietary supplement “on the advice of a nutritionist” and did not know it contained an illegal substance, according to the web site Jornal Ciclismo.

Each rider is currently looking for a new team for 2011.