The Italian rider was due to have started the 100th edition of the Giro for the Bardiani-CSF team, but instead was sent home after he and team-mate Stefano Pirazzi both tested positive for GH-Releasing Peptides, growth hormones, on April 25 and 26 respectively.
Ruffoni initially said that the presence of the banned hormone in his system could have been due to treatment for a prostate infection that he had suffered in March and April.
With Ruffoni and Pirazzi sent home, the Bardiani-CSF team started the Giro with just seven rather than nine riders.
The UCI confirmed Ruffoni’s sanction in a statement issued on Wednesday.
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal has rendered its decision in the case involving Nicola Ruffoni,” said the short statement.
“The Anti-Doping Tribunal found the rider guilty of an anti-doping rule violation (presence of GH-Releasing Peptides /GHRPs)* and imposed 4-year period of ineligibility on the rider.”
“In accordance with the Procedural Rules of the Anti-Doping Tribunal, the decision will shortly be published on the UCI website.
“(*) GH-Releasing Peptides (GHRPs) are classified as “Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances and Mimetics” as per the Prohibited List 2017.”
Ruffoni’s suspension will expire on May 3 2021. Pirazzi was previously handed a four-year ban, which will also expire on May 3 2021.