Riccardo Riccò banned for life by anti-doping authorities

The Italian pro was initially banned in 2012, but is now banned from ever re-entering the sport

(Image credit: Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Riccardo Riccò has been banned from cycling for life by anti-doping authorities.

The Italian pro was initially suspended back in 2012 after he was found guilty of blood doping, the second doping ban of his career. 

But NADO Italia, the Italian national anti-doping organisation, announced on Monday (December 14) that the 37-year-old had been banned for life. 

Riccò, winner of three Giro d’Italia stages, served his first doping ban in 2008 after he test positive for the blood-booster CERA during the Tour de France, which resulted in a two-year suspension.

He then made his comeback in 2010, but in February 2011 he was hospitalised due to a botched blood transfusion that made him seriously ill.  

The following year an anti-doping tribunal found Riccò guilty of blood doping and handed him a 12-year suspension, which was due to end in 2024. 

But the decision by NADO Italia has resulted in Riccò being banned for life and being forced to pay a €4,000 (£3,600) fine and €378 in costs.  

Riccò started his career with Saunier Duval in 2006 and then joined Scott-American Beef before his first ban.

On his return in 2010 he signed with Ceramic Flaminia-Bossini Docce, then moved to Vacansoleil that same year, before he was given his 12-year ban while riding for Meridiana Kamen in 2011. 

He picked up 15 wins during his career, including two stages of Tirreno-Adriatico in 2007 and then three stages of the Giro in 2007 and 2008.
Ricco also finished second overall in the 2008 Giro. 

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He had also won two stages of the 2008 Tour, before he was stripped of the results for doping.

Since being banned Riccò has gone into business producing ice cream in Italy.

In an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera (opens in new tab) earlier this year, he said: “I was a talented bully, an idiot who threw away his money and career. If I had managed the legs and anger of that time with the head of now I would have won the Giro and Tour. But my destiny was sealed: in life we don't decide when to mature.” 

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.