Riccò battling to salvage career with CAS appeal against doping
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Riccò battling to salvage career with CAS appeal against doping

by Shane Stokes at 5:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Controversial Italian calls on court to overthrow his twelve year ban

Riccardo RiccoHanded a twelve year ban from the sport in April, Riccardo Riccò has decided to fight that sentence and is taking his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The Swiss-based court announced the news on its website yesterday, saying that that the rider had appealed “against the decision taken by the CONI National Anti-Doping Tribunal on 19 April 2012 in which the rider was found to have committed an anti-doping rule violation for the second time and suspended for a period of twelve years.”

It noted that he had already been handed a twenty month ban in March of 2009.

CAS said that Riccò is seeking to have the sanction thrown out. “The rider requests the annulment of the challenged decision and accordingly the cancellation of the suspension,” it stated. The timetable for the appeal has not yet been determined.

Riccò was at one point regarded as a future Tour de France winner, in the mould of the late Marco Pantani, his idol. He turned pro with Saunier Duval in 2006 and won both a stage in the Settimana internazionale di Coppi e Bartali and the Japan Cup.

He stepped things up the following season when he took two stages and the points classification in Tirreno-Adriatico, then took a stage and sixth overall in the Giro d’Italia.

In 2008 he returned to the latter event and finished second overall, less than two minutes behind the winner Alberto Contador, and also picked up two stages plus the young rider classification. He then scooped two stage victories in the Tour de France but lost both and was thrown off the race when he tested positive for CERA.

Riccò was handed a twenty month ban and returned to the sport in March 2010 with the Ceramica Flaminia team. He then completed a mid-season transfer to Vacansoleil and was expected to be one of its leaders last year.

Those plans went up in smoke in February 2011 when he was hospitalized in serious condition. Hospital staff said that he had told them he had transfused blood that he had stored in a refrigerator and, citing health concerns, the Italian federation blocked him from racing for the rest of the season. He was handed a twelve year ban in April by the Italian National Anti-Doping tribunal.

Now 28 years of age, Riccò’s CAS appeal is effectively his final throw of the dice. If he loses the action, it means he will be blocked from the sport until he is 40 years of age. In truth, though, even if he wins his appeal he may find it difficult to convince any big teams to take him on, given his history.

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