Riccardo Riccò has signed with Vacansoleil, after officially annulling his contract with Italian team Ceramica Flaminia.

“I am happy to be back and though I believe everyone deserves a second  chance, I know I am not there yet. I aim to give the fans great events by racing aggressively and honestly,” he said.

The move comes as a surprising about turn. It had previously been thought that ProTour team Quick Step had inked a deal with him, beating off other European suitors for his signature. The reasons for this sudden change are currently unclear.

Riccò came to the attention of the cycling world in 2007, winning a Giro d’Italia stage at Tre Cime di Lavoredo.

A year later, he claimed two stages wins and second overall at his home tour and went on to take two stage wins, at Superbesse and Bagneres-de-Bigorre, in the 2008 Tour de France.

Days after his wins, it was announced that he had tested positive for the blood-booster EPO-CERA, and Riccò was handed a 20-month suspension.

Since returning to the sport in March, the 26-year-old has won a stage at the Settimana Lombardia and the Giro del Trentino, and two stages and the overall at the Tour of Austria.

Vacansoleil team manager Daan Luijkx said: “As a team we have influence in things like the agreement and screening of the Italian. Riccò agreed, like all riders, on immediate termination of his contract and the payment of an astronomical amount in case of misbehaviour.”

With his contract annulment effective immediately, the Italian is contracted with the Dutch team till the end of 2012 and, UCI registration providing, is expected to make his debut at the GP Plouay on Sunday.

Related links

Riccardo Ricco joins Quick Step to return to ProTour

Ricco admits taking EPO before Tour de France
Ricco positive for EPO at Tour

  • dave

    Did we all notice that the Corbra, AKA rectum piece Ricco has now also broke his contract with his agent, mind you I don’t think his agent was losing sleep over it , but he also has dropped his shoe sponsor.
    This guy is such an upright clean living citizen that I just can not understand how the authorities banned him and the worst of it is he is back competing and full of Bull —-.

  • katie

    And this is the new transparent Ricco, somehow I don’t think so.

  • Ken Evans

    I am surprised, I thought Sky were going to sign him !

  • adam

    “The reasons for this sudden change are currently unclear.” That probably says it all… When Dekker wasn’t being snapped up it was because people knew ‘something’ wasn’t right….

    People are allowed to make mistakes and do deserve another crack at things. We are all human…. except there is an important thing called humility. Ricco, like Vino, was so obnoxious when caught… Like Floyd, who spent thousands of dollars of his ‘fans’ money and then came clean. Do they really expect us to admire them this time around? Sorry chaps, I’ll keep my respect for people like Voigt.

  • BOSCO

    Jockey your on the money 🙂

  • jockey

    Well I’m pleased he’s not going to Quick Step – hopefully they realised the error of their ways or Lefevre had a serious dressing down from the sponsors. It would have been an outrageous faux pas.

    Why Vacansoleil think they’ll benefit from him is a mystery to me. Well actually it’s not but I’m surprised the sponsors have agreed to it, assuming they have the power of veto. I guess they’ll hope to gain entry to the Giro d’Italia on the back of him, but it didn’t work for the TDF this year with the Fellius brothers. I can only see downside for Johnny Hoogerland, lets hope he can extricate himself and get onto a decent team.

    In the meantime I can only hope Ricco tests positive and is banned for life.