Ricco suspended by Coni
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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ricco suspended by Coni

by Agence France-Presse at 7:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Disgraced Italian cyclist Ricardo Ricco was on Thursday suspended by the Italian Olympic Committee (Coni) anti-doping tribunal after admitting to using the banned blood-booster EPO.

Ricco has been kicked off the Tour de France, and subsequently sacked by his Saunier-Duval team, after testing positive following the fourth stage time-trial.

He initialy protested his innocence but following a meeting with Coni officials on Wednesday, he admitted to his offence, even criticising testing procedures because he had passed many tests despite being doped.

The duration of his ban is not yet known but it is likely to be two years - the same amount of time Italy's previous cycling hero Ivan Basso was banned for his admission to having tried to use banned substances prior to the 2006 Tour de France. His ban ends in October.

After his Coni interview, Ricco said: "In front of the anti-doping prosecutor I took responsibility for my actions. "Before the tour I made a mistake, I took the substance that you all know about (EPO)."

Ricco's former Saunier-Duval team-mate Leonardo Piepoli was also due to be interviewed by Coni on Thursday. He didn't fail any doping tests at the Tour, where he won the 10th stage, but was also fired by his team for breaking their code of ethics.

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