Riccardo Riccò: “It’s possible to win the Giro without doping”
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Riccardo Riccò: “It’s possible to win the Giro without doping”

by Ben Atkins at 12:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Doping
 
Vacansoleil rider has a lot to prove in first full season after return from suspension

riccardo riccoTen months after returning from a 20-month ban for using the third-generation EPO, CERA, Riccardo Riccò is contemplating his return to the Giro d’Italia for the first time since 2008. Last year he, and his then Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce team, were specifically not invited to the race, as the organiser was not quite willing to forgive him yet. This time around, with his Vacansoleil-DCM team guaranteed a start at the race, he is hoping to return to prove that he can win clean.

Like a number of riders returning from doping suspension, Riccò worked with Aldo Sassi at the Mapei Sports Institute; this is seen by may as an assurance that the rider is now riding clean. Sassi sadly died last month, as a result of a brain tumour; while Riccò mourns his passing, it changes nothing in terms of his cycling career.

"Aldo has sadly died," said Riccò to La Derniere Heure. "But his spirit still exists at the Mapei centre. I now work with people who worked with him these past fifteen years and using its methods. Working with Sassi has done a lot of good for my image, it’s true, but I especially want it to bear fruit.

“Before that I trained under my own sensations,” he explained, “with my feelings, now I am on a definite programme, plans, method of preparation. We analyze what I do, correctly... I'm busy writing a new chapter of my career. "

The 2011 season will see Riccò ride his first Grand Tours in three years and he hopes to show that he can get results without having to recourse to doping; as with many Italians, his home tour is the one he really wants.

"The Giro is my priority," he said. "Of course I want to win, but a podium finish would be good. It is hard, very, very hard, but they say it every time. In Italy there are so many difficult mountains. They put more in each time, but it’s the riders who make the course.

“Hey! Yes,” he added, “winning the Giro without doping is possible. For this, we must work and do our jobs correctly."

Riccò will reportedly begin his season at the GP Ouverture La Marseillaise in February.

"Then I will ride the Tour of the Mediterranean,” he explained, “then the [Volta ao] Algarve before Paris-Nice, Milano-Sanremo, the Tour of Catalonia, the Amstel [Gold] and the two Walloon classics [La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège – Ed]."

This will take him through to the Giro d’Italia, his main target for the season; whether or not he will go on to ride the Tour de France, the race where he was tested positive three years ago, he will decide later on.

"We will think about it after the Giro," he said.

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