The 34-year-old has been banned for four years by the UCI

Former Trek-Segafredo rider André Cardoso has been banned for four years after testing positive for EPO.

The Portuguese was suspended on the eve of the 2017 Tour de France after returning a positive test for Erythropoietin (EPO).

After the out-of-competition test, the 34-year-old was provisionally suspended, but the UCI announced on Thursday that he would be banned for four years.

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The governing body said: “The UCI announces that the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal has rendered its decision in the case involving André Cardoso.

“The Anti-Doping Tribunal found the rider guilty of an anti-doping rule violation (use of Erythropoietin) and imposed a four-year period of ineligibility on the rider.”

Cardoso had denied taking EPO and requested his B sample be tested.

The UCI went quiet on the case after the Trek-Segafredo rider’s provisional suspension.

Cardoso rode with Caja Rural before joining the WorldTour with Garmin-Sharp in 2014.

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He left for Trek-Segafredo at the end of 2016, where he was suspended part way through his first season.

Cardoso was dropped from Trek’s Tour de France squad when news of the positive broke.

Speaking at the time, Cardoso said: “I am fully aware that I will be presumed to be guilty, but it’s important to me to say that I am devastated by this news and I wanted to state that I have never taken any illegal substances.”

Trek’s star rider in 2017 Alberto Contador said he was surprised and disappointed in his team-mate.

“It was a big surprise,” Contador said before the Tour. “I never imagined that something like that would happen in this team.”