As Daily Peloton's Fabio reported earlier today
The blood tests carried out, as usual, by the UCI "vampires" on all Tour of Italy registered riders before the Giro kick-off claimed their first victim also this time: Portugal's Nuno Ribeiro.
The haematic values of the Liberty Seguros Würth Team athlete were reportedly above the standard (the threshold for men is 50 percent), and the cyclist was consequently excluded from the race. This is not good news, but the Giro is not new to such pre-race "surprises", as the same thing occurred to Colombian Uberlino Mesa Estepa (Colombia-Selle Italia) and Slovenia's Jure Golcer (Formaggi Pinzolo-Fiavé) twelve months ago. Also in that case both cyclists weren't allowed to take the start, and were suspended from all racing for a period of 15 days.
This evening Liberty Seguros has released the following statement about the matter -
Liberty Seguros-Würth is sorry deeply about Nuno Ribeiro's control The Portuguese Nuno Ribeiro will not be able to take the start of the Giro de Italia because has given a value of haematocrit of 52 per cent in the recognitions carried out recognitions this morning for the inspectors of the UCI.
The team Liberty Seguros-Würth is sorry deeply about the happened and, inside the agreements assumed by all the teams ProTour, puts to the rider at dispositionl of the maximum cycling authority in order that they do all the controls necessary, included antidoping. Last Tuesday, the majority of riders (Scarponi, Caruso and Baranowski were not) summoned for the Giro met in Madrid, where was carried out a last control, included an analysis with the 'coulter'.
Ribeiro threw in three tests values among 47 and 48, thing that explained saying that he had been concentrated in altitude, information that the reponsables of the team knew in this moment. In such circumstances, the values haematologic of the rider were considered to be normal by the doctors and major importance was not given to them. Yesterday, new controls were done in Reggio Calabria and he returned to give normal values (48,5 per cent). After the days of trip and little volume of training, were considered to be logical values to begin the Giro.
After passing the control of the UCI at 7:45 a.m., the doctors of the team knew that Nuno Ribeiro had given a haematocrit two points over the established limit. The team, in spite of the apparent discrepancy on the analyses, does not question the result offered by the experts of the UCI, who deserve the maximum credibility. For this reason the team puts from this moment Nuno Ribeiro at the disposal of the UCI and he will travel to Lausanne in order that there are realized the tests that are considered to be necessary, as well as the pertinent antidoping controls, and to establish the origin of this anomalous result.
Besides the ethical code signed by the teams of the ProTour, all the riders of the Liberty Seguros-Würth have in their contract a clause by which they will be immediately dismissed after a 'positive'. In this case it is a question of a ' health control', for which the team will hope that the experts of the UCI, besides the declaration of 'unaptitude' of fifteen days, clarify the origin of this result and will take the disciplinary measurements that are opportune, among which there can be the immediate cessation of the contract of the rider. This evening, the UCI will submit him to the first antidoping control.