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Former Portuguese national champion given four year ban for doping

Former Portuguese champion, Domingos Gonçalves, has been banned from racing for four years after returning irregular readings from doping tests between 2018 and 2019 while riding for Rádio Popular-Boavista.

He’s had all of his results over that period annulled, including the Portuguese road race and time trial titles he took in 2018.

All four of Gonçalves’ career wins have come in Portugal, but three of those wins have been chalked off with just his first career win at the Portuguese time trial championships remaining.

The 31-year-old received a provisional suspension in December 2019, at which point he had rejoined Spanish outfit Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, and therefore will be allowed to return to racing from December 2023 when he is 33.

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This ban comes as the MPCC reveals cycling has moved down to eighth in the Movement For Credible Cycling’s 2020 ‘credibility barometer’, where they list which sport has had the most doping cases each year.

Cycling moved down three spaces from last year’s ranking, with 18 cases in 2020. The number of cases had doubled from 2018 to 32 in 2019, which the MPCC described as a “brutal year”.

While the drop in cases for cycling is encouraging, the MPCC has said it should be looked at with a pinch of salt as the global pandemic may have meant some cases haven’t been detected due to less testing both in and outside of competition. WADA says there was an 18.6 per cent fall in positive tests across all sports compared to 2019, and down 30 per cent on 2018’s number.

The MPCC also showed the cases by country, the USA having the most with 76 and Russia in second with 42. Italy led Europe’s cases with the UK second for doping.

One encouraging figure, the MPCC say, is the lowest recorded number of doping cases in the WorldTour since its inception in 2005, with only three at WorldTour or ProTeam level.

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