Riccò returns with Vacansoleil in Romagna
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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Riccò returns with Vacansoleil in Romagna

by Samuel Morrison at 1:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Controversial Italian returns to racing in Italy with new Dutch team

Riccardo Riccò will race his first race with new Dutch team, Vacansoleil Sunday at the one-day race Giro della Romagna in Italy. Vacansoleil is the second team for Riccò to join following a suspension for doping at the Tour de France in 2008.

Italy's Riccò made his comeback in March with second division Italian team, Ceramica Flaminia. He won a stage at Settimana Lombardia, a stage at Giro del Trentino, and two stages and the overall Tour of Austria while racing for the team. However, he wanted a chance to return to racing Grand Tours and agreed to pay Ceramica Flaminia €75,000 to terminate his contract one year early.

Vacansoleil signed Riccò August 17 and hoped that he would return immediately with the GP Plouay five days later in France. His new mid-season contract, though, had yet to be approved by the International Cycling Union's (UCI) auditors.

The delay is just the latest of controversy that has surrounded Riccò since his debut as a professional in 2006. He argued with Paolo Bettini at the Giro d'Italia, threw his bike after he lost a Tirreno-Adriatico stage, introduced the cycling world to third generation EPO – CERA – at the Tour de France and left his girlfriend Vania Rossi (now wife) when she was accused for using the same substance.

Riccò's mid-season transfer was also controversial. He announced days before signing with Vacansoleil that he had signed with Belgian team Quick Step.

"I signed a contract with Quick Step through 2011," he said. Though, his agent Giuseppe Acquadro corrected him the next day. Acquadro said, "Actually, we are still discussing it."

Vacansoleil did confirm his contract and it hopes the Giro della Romagna is the start of a long racing relationship with Riccò. Team-mates Matteo Carrara, Alberto Ongarato, Marco Marcato, Sergey Lagutin, Borut Bozic and Michal Golas will join Riccò at the Giro della Romagna.

Riccò did not join the team to be able to race the Giro della Romagna, but to race the Grand Tours – the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and Vuelta a España. However, for the team's place to be guaranteed in the Grand Tours it needs a first division, ProTour licence.

The UCI ProTour Council (UPTC) will announce a provisional list of eight teams from the 14 applying on November 20.



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