Riccò even more unwelcome in cycling after Rossi positive
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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Riccò even more unwelcome in cycling after Rossi positive

by Samuel Morrison at 7:48 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping, Milan-Sanremo

Riccardo Riccò is even more unwelcome in cycling than before following his split with partner Vania Rossi.   He left her and their child Alberto after it was announced last month she tested positive for EPO-CERA.

"Ricco – what a f--king hypocrite," said Australian Robbie McEwen (Katusha) via Twitter. "Just don't come back piece of s--t."

McEwen's response came after Riccò announced Friday that he would leave Rossi for her positive test for EPO, the same drug Riccò used during the 2008 Tour de France.   Rossi had supported Riccò during his trial and subsequent 20-month suspension, which ends on March 18th.

Riccò had planned a return to racing with new team Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce at the Milano-Sanremo on March 20, but last week, organiser RCS Sport refused to include his team in its list of invitees.    The team also failed to receive an invite to RCS Sport's Erocia, March 6, and Tirreno-Adriatico, March 10 to 16.  The decision by organizers also puts doubt over the team's invitation to RCS Sport's flagship race, the Giro d'Italia, in May.   

Before the 2008 Tour de France, Riccò was not widely liked in the peloton and after it, with his introduction of CERA to the sport, he became enemy number 1.  A reduction in suspension, from 24 to 20 months, did not help his case.

"The return of Riccò is a return of a parasite," said Mark Cavendish in January.  "His mistakes don't bother me, everyone can make a mistake, but he never apologised for it and he doesn't care."

Riccò's split with Rossi only three days after Ceramica Flaminia was left off of RCS Sport's list for Sanremo, though the exclusion was not directly linked to Rossi's doping.

"If you were in my shoes, what would you do?" said Riccò.  "It was my fault I ended up in this black hole initially, but, with enormous sacrifices, I am coming out of it.   Vania's positive threw dirt in my face and left me back in a hole.  I understand that it is a crucial moment for her, but it's not right that I pay again.

"The decision by the organisers [RCS Sport] upsets me, but it was inevitable, even justifiable.  I regret that I don't have the means to show that I am in no way involved in this.  Believe me, I am innocent."

Riccò is currently training in Sicily with team-mate Paolo Bailetti and, though he has a ticket to return home to Modena, he said that he will likely not return to Rossi and their baby.

"This is the true penalty, really upsetting," he said. "Anyway, he will be with his mom.  Being far away from your baby is not easy, but in life you have to face certain situations that require you make [difficult] decisions."

Instead of Milano-Sanremo, Riccò will likely return to racing at the Gran Premio San Giuseppe, March 21, and then Coppi & Bartali, March 23 to 27.


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