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"If I could do anything that would allow me to compete again, I would do it," Ricco tells Ciclismo Internacional


30.10.2013 @ 18:14 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Having received a 12-year ban for blood doping, Riccardo Ricco is unlikely to ever ride a professional bike race again. However, the controversial Italian claims that if he could do anything to return to the peloton, he would do it.


Riccardo Ricco has been a pariah in the professional peloton since he was ousted from the 2008 Tour de France for the use of EPO CERA. Currently suspended for 12 years, the Italian, however, dreams of returning to the professional peloton.


Ricco was regarded as a highly talented rider when he won a stage of the 2007 Giro d'Italia and finished 2nd in his home race one year later. His career unraveled one month later when he tested positive for CERA at the Tour after having won two stages in spectacular fashion.


He cooperated with authorities and got a reduced suspension that allowed him to make a comeback with Ceramica Flaminia in the spring of 2010 before joining Vacansoleil at the end of the season. He won the Tour of Austria, the Coppa Sabatini and stages in Austria, Giro del Trentino and Settimana Lombarda and appeared to be returning to the top level of the sport.


Those hopes were all dashed when he was rushed to hospital in early 2011. Apparently, he told a doctor that he had made a blood transfusion with blood stored in his own refrigerator but later denied to have ever said so. He tried to make a comeback with the Meridiana Kamen team but was ultimately handed a 12-year ban for his misdemeanors.


The length of the ban means that he is unlikely to ever return to the professional peloton but in an interview with Ciclismo Internacional, he claims to be ready to whatever it takes to be allowed to ride as a professional again.


 "If I could do anything that would allow me to compete again, I would do it," he said. "I train three hours a day but only if the weather is good. If I have good company, I may extend it to four hours."


Ricco still hasn't found a new profession.


"I haven't," he said. "I enjoy my life day to day. I wake up in the morning, train for pleasure, enjoy my son Alberto and spend time with friends."


While denying that he has any regrets, he claims not to be following cycling closely anymore. Nonetheless, he still hopes to one day ride as a professional again. That is, however, unlikely to happen...



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