Riccardo Riccò backs off of Mark Cavendish's slam
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Riccò backs off of Cavendish's slam

by VeloNation Press at 6:14 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

HTC Columbia sprinter Mark Cavendish lashed out at Italian Riccardo Riccò in the Guardian last week for the damage he had done to the image of cycling. Riccò, who will return from a 20 month doping suspension on March 18, has opted not to return fire in a war of words with the sport's top sprinter.

"It's like a parasite coming back into the sport," Cavendish told the Guardian from their training camp in Mallorca. "It's not the fact of what he did, because everyone can make a mistake. But he doesn't see it as a mistake. He's not even sorry about it."

Given his chance to respond the Italian said to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, "Why am I a parasite?" insisting that he in fact does have remorse for dragging the Tour de France through the mud two years ago with his positive result for CERA.

When initially caught, Riccò reacted smugly, thumbing his nose at the sport, but eventually did help with the investigation and was rewarded with a reduction in his ban by four months. Cavendish is not buying what Riccò is selling, though, implying that his assistance with the case was an act of convenience rather than regret.

Riccò told the paper, "He is the best sprinter in the world and therefore he is always right." Instead, he said, he will answer Cavendish with his legs on the road. "I can only assure people that I've been training very hard and I am already at a very good level," he added.

With his suspension set to end just two days before the Manxman attempts to defend his Milan-Sanremo title, Riccò is hoping to ride the season's first Classic, and will look to prove himself there with his Ceramica Flaminia team.


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