Riccardo Riccò has been accused of buying EPO and testosterone after being caught red handed with two dealers by Italian police in a car park in the Tuscan town of Livorno, according to reports in Italian media.
Ricco was banned for 12 years in 2011 after being rushed to hospital apparently following a botched blood transfusion. The controversial Italian climber had been planning to attack a series of records on well known cycling climbs such as Mont Ventoux but is now facing charges of receiving banned substances and dealing in banned substances. Doping is a crime in Italy.
According to a report on the Il Tirreno website, Ricco was caught with another local professional on Tuesday afternoon after collecting a bag containing 30 doses of drugs in the car park of an out of town McDonalds, north of Livorno. The two dealers are from Livorno, with one working in a local hospital.
The NAS, the branch of police specialising in drugs and health and safety, said in a press conference that 30 doses of drugs were seized during the operation which began in the nearby town of Lucca, with a further 100 doses and large sum of cash discovered during a search of the two dealers' homes.
Ricco won stages at the Giro d'Italia and was the best young rider in 2008 but tested positive for the blood-boosting drug CERA during that year's Tour de France. He served a two-year ban and made a comeback in 2010 but his career ended when he was rushed to hospital in 2011.
He was suspended for 12 years but continued to ride a bike, was invited to take part in several Gran Fondo events and announced his record attempts on cycling biggest climbs.
Ricco did not answer his phone when contacted by Cyclingnews.
Despite only turning 24 at the beginning of the year, Quintana has high ambitions for his first Grand Tour as a general classification leader. “We can win, but we also have to be realistic. Not winning will result in more frustration for me and for the people,” he said in a press conference hours before he hopped on a plane to Spain.
“If I don’t finish in the first three it will be a little frustrating. But I am young, I am still learning and I will continue to work every day in the coming years to continue to mature in order to fight for the title of the Tour de France," he said.
After his performance at the Tour de France last season, Quintana goes into the Giro as the big favourite. The Colombian obviously has confidence in his own abilities, but he’s aware that there are plenty of contenders looking to take their own glory on the Corsa Rosa.
“You can lose it in the first week, so you have to be very attentive,” the Movistar rider said. “Joaquim Rodríguez is possibly my biggest rival. He had some difficulty in the Ardennes, with two crashes, but without consequences. He will be very good. Rigoberto [Urán] will be very hard. He has trained very well and will be a competitor I have to keep in mind.
“Cadel Evans has been a quite superior to many other rivals and he won in (Giro del) Trentino. I know that he can do good things. I also have to think about (Domenico) Pozzovivo from AG2R, who has been on good form in Trentino and also did well in Liège.”
Boswell, Dombrowski and Pate to race in the USA in May
Team Sky has confirmed that Bradley Wiggins will lead Team Sky at the Tour of California, with US riders Danny Pate, Ian Boswell and Joe Dombrowski also in the squad. Completing the Team Sky line-up are Nathan Earle, Josh Edmondson, Christian Knees and Luke Rowe.
This year's Tour of California begins in Sacramento on May 11 and ends in Thousand Oaks on May 18. Stage three to Mount Diablo State Park and stage six to Mountain High are expected to decide the race, with the stage two time trial to Folsom also important.
Wiggins rode the Giro d'Italia in 2013 but crashed in the rain and quit the race with a knee injury that lead team management not selecting him for the Tour de France. With Tour de France leadership no longer an objective, the British rider has looked for other goals and the Tour of California has become important for the team after the arrival of 21st Century Fox as a key sponsor.
Wiggins showed his form and all-round ability by taking ninth place in Paris-Roubaix against the cobbled Classics specialists. He then tested his stage race form and worked to lower his weight with several strong rides at last week's Giro del Trentino.
2014 marks the second time Team Sky has competed in the Tour of California, with both Ben Swift and Greg Henderson winning stages and holding the race lead in 2011.
Wiggins hinted that he may not be able to win the overall classification but said on the Team Sky website that he was enthusiastic to be heading to California for the week-long stage race.
“I’m really looking forward to riding the Tour of California. It's an important event for the team and we want to put in a good performance in front of the American fans and our co-owners 21st...
The Pro Continental Colombia squad is set to get the Giro d'Italia underway, naming its nine-man selection for the Grand Tour which begins on May 9 in Belfast. After running into difficulties securing the team's visas for the stages in Ireland, team manager Claudio Corti is confident the issues will be solved.
"After some weeks of worry and tension, we are finally receiving the first UK Visas, and we hope the issue will be completely solved in time to leave to Belfast," Corti said.
The team was forced to withdraw from the Tour of Turkey last week because the riders' passports were being held by the British embassy in Rome during processing of the visa applications.
Fabio Duarte will lead the squad in its second attempt at the race. The Colombian finished just off the podium at the Giro del Trentino.
He will be joined by Giro veterans Miguel Angel Rubiano, the Colombian national champion, Jarlinson Pantano, Robinson Chalapud, and sprinters Leonardo Duque and Edwin Avila.
Jeffry Romero and Rodolfo Torres will make their Giro debut. Torres was cleared to ride after injuring his wrist in Liège - Bastogne - Liège. Finally, Carlos Julian Quintero, who was forced out of the 2013 Giro because of tendinitis, will have another shot at completing the race this year.
"Compared to last year, we have one more year and a Giro of experience, and that will make some real difference," the team's General Manager Claudio Corti said. "Even in the setup, the riders clearly were much more aware of what is in store for them, and that's why I believe we will get to the Giro in a much better condition than...
With Cadel Evans constructing his season around claiming victory at the Giro d'Italia, his BMC Racing Team have announced a strong eight man team for the Italian grand tour to clinch the maglia rosa in Trieste on June 1. Having secured the overall classification at the Giro del Trentino, Evans will start the race as one of the top favourites in what will be his fourth Giro.
Several of Evans' teammates for the race have tasted grand tour success with the Australian before with Brent Bookwalter, Steve Morabito and Manuel Quinziato having all been part of the 2011 Tour de France triumph, the trio line up in Belfast on May 9 for the Grand Partenza.
"I am delighted with the Giro team we have," Evans said. "I think it will be the best one we have had as a team and I am very happy with the support I will have. They are absolutely committed riders and these are really my guys I trust and know I can rely on."
Having been left contractless after his Euskaltel-Euskadi team ceased to exist, new signing and former Olympic gold medallist Sammy Sánchez makes his grand tour debut for BMC, and his 15th in total at the Giro. Sánchez will be a key ally for Evans throughout the three-week event and Evans stated his delight with the Spaniards inclusion in the roster.
"We are both reasonably experienced riders who have similar...
Search under way for new CEO as governing body shapes new foundations
With just 10 days remaining on the second – and final – contract extension for Cycling Australia's (CA) interim CEO Adrian Anderson, cycling's governing body convened in Sydney on Wednesday to decide on critical governance reforms for the ailing and cash-strapped governing body.
According to CA President – and Orica-GreenEdge owner – Gerry Ryan, the reforms are a "positive move" forward for the future of the organisation.
"The changes will strengthen the structure considerably and enable it to progress in a commercially sustainable manner with greater relevance to the four million Australians who ride bikes," said Ryan.
The reforms Ryan speaks of include transitioning to a new, independent, skills-based board and the adoption of the Australian Sports Commission's (ASC) mandatory sports governance principles.
A special meeting that was announced in mid-April, gathered CA member states to agree on the proposed reforms which will result in the organisation transitioning to a company limited by guarantee, adopting a new constitution and establishing a nominations committee to manage the process of appointing an independent, skills-based board and a permanent CEO.
Ryan also acknowledged the work of all stakeholders to date, including outgoing interim CEO Adrian Anderson.
"I would like to thank the ASC and our state members for their hard work to this point and look forward to their ongoing support as we implement these reforms over coming months," said Ryan. "I would also like to thank interim CEO Adrian Anderson for leading this governance reform."
CA state members have also approved the appointment of a caretaker board comprising of Ryan as chair combined with experienced sports administrators...
Bob Jungels is the youngest rider on the Trek Factory Racing team, but he is carving out a place for himself in only his second season as a professional.
At 21, he is already the Luxembourg national road and time trial champion. He’s also won a stage of his national tour, ahead more experienced riders, such as Paul Martens (Belkin) and his then teammate Jan Bakelants. Jungels is yet to notch up his first victory of the season, but came close at Paris-Nice where he was outdone by an in-form Carlos Betancur. The young rider also finished in the top 10 at the Critérium International.
Jungels recently completed his first Ardennes Classics campaign, where he rode in support of his compatriot Frank Schleck. As part of the Trek team, he was on the Trek Madone 7 series. The bike manufacturer took over the team when RadioShack pulled the plug on sponsorship.
Cyclingnews caught up with Jungels during the Classics to talk about his bike.
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The Manxman has claimed all three of the bunch sprints in Turkey to date and he was a convincing winner in Marmaris at the end of stage 4, after Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Renshaw piloted him through the final kilometre.
“The team stayed with me on the final climb and gathered together as soon as they could at the top of the climb. They went hard from 5 [kilometres] to go, super fast. It was a textbook lead-out,” Cavendish said afterwards. “If the sprinter doesn’t really have to do anything then you know he’s got an extraordinary team around him. Today they were incredible, it was exactly what Patrick Lefevere meant when he put this team together.”
Although Cavendish racked up 19 victories in 2013, his QuickStep lead-out train appeared to lack the cohesion of Marcel Kittel’s cohort at Argos-Shimano [now Giant-Shimano]. With that in mind, Lefevere brought Alessandro Petacchi out of semi-retirement in August and then reunited Cavendish with his old HTC-Highroad lead-out man Mark Renshaw during the off-season.
“We’ve got strength in numbers in the train, we’ve got lead-out specialists in the train now, like the other teams have – like Lotto have, like Giant-Shimano have. We’ve got specialist lead-out guys now,” Cavendish said. “When they come together it’s a beautiful thing to be behind to see it working in motion.
“It’s obvious it’s gelling. When you win and you win in that...