Ceramica Flaminia team manager Roberto Marrone has officially announced the departure of Riccardo Riccò from the ranks of his Professional Continental squad and the controversial Italian rider has revealed he has signed a contract with the Quick Step team.
Despite losing the team’s best rider, Marrone wished Riccò all the best for the future."We are delighted and proud of the revival of Riccardo at high levels. We thank him for successes achieved by wearing our jersey, said Marrone. "Now we wish him the best in winning more and more important races."
Riccò revealed that Vacansoleil and Movistar (who will replace Caisse d’Epargne as main sponsor of Eusebio Unzue’s team in 2011) had made him good offers but he opted to sign with Patrick Lefevere’s Belgian-based Quick Step team. Now he hopes to ride the Vuelta Espana that begins in Seville on August 28.
“We’ve done it! It was like giving birth but I’m back in big time cycling,” Riccò said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.
I’ve signed a one-year contract with Quick Step and I’m sure I’ve done the right thing because Lefevere’s team is one of the top three or four in the sport and I can get back to riding the biggest races in the sport.”
Riccò wants to ride the Vuelta but it seems entry deadlines and UCI rules mean he will have to race elsewhere unless he is given special dispensation to ride.
“I don’t know when I’ll make my debut but I can race straight away,” Riccò said.
“I’d really like to ride the Vuelta. It’d be good for me and the team. I wouldn’t target the GC but I think I could do well in a couple of stages. I haven’t ridden a three-week stage race since the 2008 Giro d’Italia but if I can ride in Spain, we’d all have some fun."