Giro della Romagna: Riccò's second coming
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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Giro della Romagna: Riccò's second coming

by Samuel Morrison at 5:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Italy's controversial cyclist races today with new Dutch Vacansoleil team

Riccardo Riccò will make a comeback for the second time today at the Giro della Romagna in Italy. His first time was after the Tour de France doping positive and suspension, and this time is with new team Vacansoleil.

"Giro di Romagna... I lack the race rhythm, but I won't hold myself back," Riccò told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I am aiming for the Coppa Sabatini, the Giro dell’Emilia and the Giro di Lombardia. They tell me that the GP Wallonie suits me, I have never raced Piemonte, but I have raced, and won, the Japan Cup. It would be great to return there."

The 27-year-old Italian made his comeback from a 20-month doping suspension just over five months ago with second division, Italian team Ceramica Flaminia. Last month, he paid €75,000 to end his contract early and freed himself to find a new team.

"Why can you not do it? In football you can."

Riccò's terminated contract allowed him to join second division, Dutch team Vacansoleil. The team consists of mostly Dutch, French and Belgian riders, but there are three other Italians: Matteo Carrara, Alberto Ongarato and Marco Marcato.

"I know Carrara and Ongarato, they told me I would like the team. I do not know Marcato. But, the story is always the same: we are there to ride.

"Now, I have to learn English and French. I know enough to survive, but it worries me."

Riccò took the challenge to be able to return to Grand Tour racing. Vacansoleil raced the Vuelta a España last year, but this year missed a chance to race in any of the three three-week Grand Tours. However, to better its chances, Vacansoleil is applying for a first division, ProTour licences. It is one of 14 teams applying for the eight available licences for next year.

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.


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