The Equipe website (www.equipe.fr) has announced that Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval) has tested positive for the third generation of EPO called Cera.
The news was confirmed by the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport and other sources.
According to Italian website tuttobiciweb.it, Ricco was taken away by French police at the start of stage 13 and none of the other Saunier Duval riders started the stage at one o’clock.
According to Equipe Ricco was positive in two tests taken on July 3 and 4 before the start of the Tour de France in Brest. However Pierre Bordry, the head of the AFLD, said Ricco was positive after a targeted test done after the stage four Cholet time trial.
Ricco won stages of the Tour in spectacular style at Super-Besse and at Bagneres de Bigorre in the Pyrenees. He was also leading the best climber and best young rider competitions.
Like other riders, Ricco was tested several times during the first week of the Tour by the French anti-doping controllers but the cocky Italian always seemed unworried about the extra attention.
CERA: THE THIRD GENERATION EPO
Cera is a new kind of EPO that requires fewer injections because it is a slow release form of the blood boosting drug. Riders may have taken it because they believed the EPO urine test carried out in Lausanne was unable to detect it but Ricco?s positive seems to have destroyed that theory.
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