Riccò close to signing with Quick Step
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Riccò close to signing with Quick Step

by Samuel Morrison at 5:49 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
Belgian team to bring in Italian climber for Vuelta

Italian Riccardo Riccò will know today if he will have a new contract with Quick Step to race next month's three-week tour, the Vuelta a España.

Riccò and Quick Step team manager, Belgian Patrick Lefevere, will have a meeting this afternoon, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. His presence would be a boost for Lefevere, whose star rider Tom Boonen is sitting out due to problems recovering from knee surgery. The problem forced him out of the Tour de France and will likely see him skip the World Championships October 3.

Alberto Contador had been on Lefevere's list of possible riders last year and again this year. The three-time Tour de France winner, though, signed with Bjarne Riis' Saxo Bank team August 3. It was another loss after double Tour of Flanders champion, Stijn Devolder, who will join Dutch team Vacansoleil next year.

Riccò last week ended his contract one year early with Italian second division team, Ceramica Flaminia, by agreeing to pay €75,000. His goal is to sign for a first division team, which has a chance of racing in the Grand Tours.

Riccò's last Grand Tour was the 2008 Tour de France, where he tested positive for blood booster EPO-CERA. France's anti-doping agency, AFLD, announced the findings July 17, after Riccò had already won the stage to Super-Besse and Bagnères-de-Bigorre.

Ceramica Flaminia offered him a contract last June while he was serving a 20-month suspension. He repaid them this year: a stage win at Settimana Lombarda, second overall and a stage win at Giro del Trentino, the overall and two stages at the Tour of Austria.

He raced his last race with Ceramica Flaminia Saturday at the GP Camaiore.

If Riccò signs with Quick Step, he will have a chance to return to race a Grand Tour. The team will try to field him in its nine-man team for the Vuelta a España, which starts August 28 in Sevilla.


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