Ceramica Flaminia team presented, Riccò 'proud' to ride what Coppi rode
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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ceramica Flaminia team presented, Riccò 'proud' to ride what Coppi rode

by VeloNation Press at 5:52 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Continental professional team Ceramica Flaminia held its official launch in San Polo - Parma (Italy), last Friday, and are ready to get the 2010 season off to a good start. The 17-man roster is managed by Roberto Marrone. In attendance was Italian cycling great Felice Gimondi, who endorsed their candidacy for the country's Grand Tour, the Giro d'Italia.

The Ceramica Flaminia team is set to be the launching pad for embattled cyclist Riccardo Riccò, as he returns to the sport after an 20 month ban for doping. The 26-year-old tested positive for Cera, a third generation EPO, in the 2008 Tour de France. He was banned for 2 years by the Italian Cycling Federation, but the Court for Arbitration in Sport reduced the ban to 20 months on the grounds that he had co-operated with the anti-doping investigators.

HTC-Columbia rider Mark Cavendish had some choice words to say about Riccò's return, blasting him in an interview with the Guardian implying that his assistance with the case was an act of convenience rather than regret.

Now the Italian wants to get on with the job at hand, insisting in an interview with the La Gazzetta Dello Sport last week that he does have remorse for the damage he had done to the image of the sport.

"The worst is over, yet these two months will be the longest," he told the Italian newspaper at the team presentation. "The season has begun, there are some who ride and some who win, but I can only train. I can't wait to attack with a number on my back."

When again asked about Cavendish he replied, "I do not respond to provocation. I am serene, calm, and will try to stay focused. Talk now means nothing. Revenge is served cold."

While the Italian isn't going to take up a war of words, if he can, he said he'll answer on his bike. But even if he does prove he's still amongst the best riders, rather than be vocal he would prefer to be given second chance. "If I have the legs, then that is how I will respond. If I don't, then it's better that I remain silent," he explained. "If I prove again that I am a first class rider, I will then have the right and duty to respond. But, after what has happened, I'm the last person that should be talking. However, I've been in Purgatory and everyone deserves a second chance."

Gimondi agrees that his compatriot should be given an opportunity to prove he's changed, “Riccò is definitely one of the best climbers in the bunch and he’s ready to lead a strong team at the Giro d’Italia. He will make it hard for the overall competitors.”

Along with Gimondi, legends Fausto Coppi and Marco Pantani also had Bianchi bikes as their weapon of choice, a fact that Riccò said made him "proud" and also showed its pedigree in the way his 928 SL IASP performed.

The team leader was complimentary of his new teammates when asked saying, "Professional, very professional, 17 riders, a good nucleus for the climbs," adding the the it was a good group.


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