Riccardo Riccò’s home raided; suspicious pills seized
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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Riccardo Riccò’s home raided; suspicious pills seized

by Ben Atkins at 8:49 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
"Cobra" now officially linked to Enrico Rossi scandal

riccardo riccoOn a day already rich with doping stories, there has been a further development in the investigation into an Italian doping ring with the raiding of the home of Riccardo Riccò. According to Tuttobiciweb.it, police found at least 50 tablets at the Vacansoleil rider’s home, which were considered suspicious.

The tablets were reportedly partially crushed and stored in a safe in the rider’s home in Serra Mazzoni, in the province of Modena. As they were kept loose, no longer in their packaging, they need to be identified after analysis.

The investigation came to light earlier this month after the arrest of six people including Enrico Rossi, Riccò’s former teammate and brother of his former partner. The operation has reportedly uncovered a doping ring based in the Italian capital, Rome, and is said to involve up to 35 people; included in that number are said to be six professional cyclists and 15 amateurs.

At the time Riccò’s involvement was not mentioned, and the rider denied any knowledge, but with the operation being codenamed “Cobra-Red” it is unsurprising that his name has now entered the story.

(Riccò’s nickname is “the Cobra”, and Rossi is the Italian word for Red)

He has entered the Italian Carabinieri’s investigation because his name reportedly appears in several telephone intercepts.

Riccò returned to the sport this spring, having served a 20-month ban from the sport after testing positive for CERA, the third-generation EPO at the 2008 tour de France. His statutory two-year ban had been shortened slightly by the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) after the Italian was seen to have cooperated with the anti-doping investigation.

Rossi’s sister Vania, who’d recently given birth to her and Riccò’s first child, retuned a positive A-sample for CERA before the Italian cyclocross championships in January; she was subsequently exonerated with an inconclusive B-sample but, keen to avoid being associated with the scandal, Riccò ended the relationship in between.

Police have also reportedly raided the home of Donato Cannone, another Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce rider, where alleged doping products were also found.

The then 26-year-old signed with the Italian ProContinental team Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce at the end of his ban, but transferred to the Dutch Vacansoleil team in the hope of riding the Vuelta a España. However, the team did not receive an invitation to the race, and his transfer was not completed on time anyway.

The acquisition of Riccò was part of Vacansoleil’s bid to be awarded a license for the International Cycling Union (UCI) ProTour. The latest scandal surrounding the Italian as well as the reported positive test for Vuelta runner-up Ezequiel Mosquera, who’d signed for the team from 2011, is unlikely to be helpful in this bid.


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