Riccò’s partner blocked from hearing, documents sent to WADA and UCI
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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Riccò’s partner blocked from hearing, documents sent to WADA and UCI

by Shane Stokes at 4:13 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Buildup continues towards Italian’s anti-doping trial

Riccardo RiccoA month before Riccardo Riccò will appear before the national anti-doping tribunal judging his case, the Italian Olympic Committee CONI has ruled that his partner Vania Rossi is not permitted to be part of the hearing.

A communication from CONI noted that his defence team wanted Rossi to be present, along with Riccò himself, plus defence lawyers Fiorenzo Alessi and Alberto Alessi, and the technical advisors professor Angelo Corvetta and Dr. Patrizia Ortolani.

Of those, Rossi has been blocked. “The [national anti-doping tribunal] president Plotinus took note of the persons indicated by the defence, and has determined that Vania Rossi, the partner of the athlete Riccardo Riccò, is not entitled to attend the hearing to be held in a closed session,” CONI stated yesterday.

Following Riccò’s prior conviction for doping in 2008, Rossi herself landed in hot water with CONI when she provided a positive A sample for CERA. This was the same doping product that Riccò was snagged for at the 2008 Tour de France, leading to his disqualification from two stage wins and a lengthy ban.

Rossi tested positive at the 2010 Italian cyclo-cross championships, but was later cleared as her B sample fell short of the levels of CERA required to prove guilt.

Riccò resumed racing in March 2010, having negotiated a shorter sentence than the initial two year ban. He was given time off due to cooperating with the investigation. He initially competed with Ceramica Flaminia team, but ended that contract in August 2010 and began racing with the Dutch Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team in September of that year.

Italian back in hot water:

He didn’t race for long with the team, though. His current case began in February when he was hospitalised in serious condition. He 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, an immuno-haematologist, a specialist in infectious diseases and a nephrologist, or kidney doctor were appointed to study his case. The trio, the professors Giancarlo Isacchi, Giuseppe Gentile and Sandro Feriozzi, reached their decision in mid-December and submitted it to Plotinus.

He set a date of January 9th for Riccò and his legal team to make their responses. The CONI communication states that their counter-claims were submitted six days earlier on January 3rd, and would be sent to the WADA and UCI, along with information relating to the appointment of the three medical experts.

The hearing will be held on February 3rd. At some point after that Riccò will learn if he will be cleared or handed a very lengthy ban – CONI wants a twelve year sanction – from the sport he once appeared destined to dominate.


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