Confirmation that Riccò contract with Quick Step still not signed
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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Confirmation that Riccò contract with Quick Step still not signed

by Conal Andrews at 10:54 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Italian rider in limbo until deal is done

Riccardo RiccoYesterday brought a curious contradiction in statements between a rider claiming he’d signed a new deal, and a team which insisted that nothing had been finalised as yet. Riccardo Riccò’s claim that he had secured a slot with ProTour team Quick Step after years in the wilderness was denied by the team’s press officer Alessandro Tegner, and now the rider’s agent himself has confirmed that talk of a contract was premature.

"We are indeed still debating,” said Giuseppe Acquadro to Tuttobiciweb, who contacted him and noted that he was not too pleased to make the admission. “We are working on some terms that Riccardo absolutely want to put in the contract. I remain optimistic, however.”

Riccò had hoped to ride the Vuelta a España, especially as his previous Ceramica Flaminia team was not invited to the Giro d’Italia earlier this year. With over two years away from Grand Tours thanks to his positive test for CERA in the 2008 Tour de France, he is keen to get his career back on track and to once again ride the world’s biggest races.

Because of that reason, he and the management of Ceramica Flaminia dissolved their own contract, with Riccò paying €75,000 to be able to leave early. That agreement enabled him to negotiate with other teams but even if the Quick Step talks reach a successful conclusion in the near future, he will be unable to ride the Vuelta.

Neither he nor Michael Rasmussen – another formerly-banned rider in a similar position - appear anywhere on this week’s provisional start list, and for that reason why they will not ride.

“It’s true that they cannot race,” said a Vuelta spokesperson to Velonation yesterday. “According to the rules of the UCI, the list can not be changed.”

Riccò will nevertheless aim to reach an agreement with Quick Step as soon as possible. If they agree terms, he will be able to do other top-level races in the remaining part of this season.

If not, his leaving of Ceramica Flaminia will mean that he now has no team at all, putting him in a rather embarrassing situation and necessitating more searching around.

Prior to his ban, Riccò was regarded as one of the most promising young riders in the sport. He finished second overall in the 2008 Giro d’Italia, taking two stages plus the best young rider classification and earning comparisons with his idol Marco Pantani.

Things went downhill from there, though, and he is still trying to get his career back on track.


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