Riccardo Ricco's partner Vania Rossi has tested positive for blood booster EPO-CERA, the same drug Riccò used two years ago at the Tour de France.
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) announced today that Rossi tested positive at the Italian cyclo-cross championships in Milan, January 10.
Rossi won the championships two years ago and finished second at the championships this year behind Eva Lechner. She and Riccò supported each other this off-season, caring for their newly born baby Alberto while each other trained.
Riccò is currently serving a 20-month suspension for his positive test, taken July 8, 2008. The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) announced the result on July 17, after he had won two stages, Super-Besse and Bagnères-de-Bigorre.
The CONI gave Riccò a two-year suspension. He appealed the length to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the ban was reduced in October.
His suspension ends March 18, 2010, and he is to return with Italian team Ceramica Flaminia in June. He will be able to return to racing at Italian one-day classic, Milano-Sanremo, March 20.
However, the team's General Manager Roberto Marrone, worries Rossi's positive could threaten his team's invites to RCS Sport's races, like the Giro d'Italia and Milan-San remo.
"It is not a good thing, certainly," said Marrone.
"The team does not have relationships with the riders' partners, with the wives or sisters. I don't know yet if this will reflect negatively on the team."
Rossi will be able to request counter-analysis of UCI's test results.
Ricco admits taking EPO
CERA: New scourge of the peloton
Ricco positive for EPO at Tour de France
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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