Italian Riccardo Riccò is defending himself ahead of a likely lifetime ban for doping.

“Reading the newspapers is like reading gossip magazines, it makes me laugh,” Riccò wrote on his Facebook page three days ago. “Revenge is a plate best served cold.”

Riccò has since cancelled his Facebook account, including its links to fiancée Vania Rossi. He has reportedly taken refuge away from home, outside of Modena. Last year, when Rossi was accused of using EPO-CERA, he remained in Italy’s south, in Sicily.

Dutch first division team, Vacansoleil fired Riccò on Saturday, the same day he wrote on Facebook.

“The team started an internal investigation regarding the hospitalisation of Mr Riccò,” it said in a press release.

“Riccò was fired on the spot … breach of internal rules and other indications justify this measure.”

A doctor from the team and another team’s representative reportedly visited the hospitals were Riccò stayed, in Pavullo and Baggiovara. They spoke with a medic, who confirmed that Riccò had a botched blood transfusion.

“If true, it’s a grave violation of ethical code and confidentiality,” Riccò’s lawyer, Fiorenzo Alessi told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “We will contest the legitimacy of letter and methods of the team, who should have had to wait until an official criminal investigation.”

On February 6, Riccò went to the hospital in Pavullo. A medic reported that Riccò admitted he had transferred his own blood, which was likely improperly stored.

He was transferred to a bigger hospital in Baggiovara. Kidney failure had led to lung and cardiovascular problems, and the need of constant surveillance. Only on Friday, nearly two weeks later, was he discharged.

The Modena public prosecutor has opened a criminal investigation and the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) will likely follow suit with a sporting investigation. Having just served 20 months, Riccò could face a five-year to lifetime ban.

Riccò tested positive for blood booster EPO-CERA at the Tour de France in 2008. The test results were revealed on July 17, after he had won two stages.

Related links

Ricco suspended by Vacansoleil team

Police examine Ricco’s blood and telephone records

Ricco admits blood transfusion caused hospitalisation

Ricco remains hospitalised with likely kidney problems

  • Jimmy Won

    Poor bloke – can’t understand how Contador got away with it and he can’t – it’s not fair – loser!

  • katie

    While I think that the best thing would be for him to crawl back up his own arse I’m not sure of the legal implications of sacking him as my understanding of Italian law is that until you are tried and found guilty you can not be sacked. So if I am correct it will depend on whether his contract is an Italian contract or not as to whether his Lawyer has grounds

  • Jon

    Okay I’ve stopped feeling any sympathy for him now.
    He’s going to try to drag the team through the mud to save his own sorry hide after he blatantly almost killed himself with a blood transfusion.

  • Mike

    Ricco must be realy stupid.
    He had a tried and trusted method to get out of any doping charge.
    “It must have been the dodgy meat I ate last night”
    Works every time, or so I am told.

  • Alex Gilbert

    Why can’t he just have the good grace to shut up and disappear. Trying to get his lawyers to argue the technicalities!