Medical experts submit report on Ricco doping affair, case nears conclusion
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Medical experts submit report on Ricco doping affair, case nears conclusion

by Shane Stokes at 7:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Opportunity given to rider’s legal team to respond

Riccardo RiccoThree experts who were appointed by Italy’s National Anti-Doping Tribunal have reached their conclusions in the case of Riccardo Riccò, moving the case closer to a final resolution.

Last month it emerged that the professors Giancarlo Isacchi, Giuseppe Gentile and Sandro Feriozzi had been asked to study the rider’s file in order to determine exactly what had happened.

The case began in February when Riccò was hospitalised in serious condition and reportedly admitted to medical staff that he had transfused blood which he had previously extracted, then stored in a refrigerator for 25 days.

Several hospital staff gave evidence that the confession was made, but the rider claimed that they were lying and that he never made an admission.

Instead, he claimed that he infused iron to treat low blood levels.

In order to determine the truth, the three experts were commissioned to study the case. They are an immuno-haematologist, a specialist in infectious diseases and a nephrologist, or kidney doctor. They were given 45 days to come to a conclusion, and have now done so.

The outcome of the investigation has not yet been announced.

National Anti-Doping Tribunal president Francis Plotinus has now set a date of January 9th for Riccò and his legal team to make their responses. The three experts will attend the hearing.

If found guilty, the controversial rider is facing what will effectively be the end of his career if he is found guilty. He previously tested positive during the 2008 Tour de France and served a lengthy ban. He hasn’t raced since the February incident, although he attempted to ride the Tour of Serbia in June with the small Meridiana-Kamen team.

This became impossible when on June 8th, the Commission for Health Protection of the Italian cycling federation decided to suspend his licence for 60 days. This was later extended by an additional 30 days.

Riccò denied all doping when he was heard by CONI on September 14th, claiming he had taken iron only.

He had claimed last winter that he was going to race clean, and could take a major result in doing so. “Winning the Giro without doping is possible. For this, we must work and do our jobs correctly,” he told La Dernière Heure.


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