Italy's Riccardo Riccò will return to cycling July 18, 2010, four months later than he had originally hoped. The International Cycling Union (UCI) decided yesterday that the CONI lacked jurisdiction when it issued a reduced suspension for Riccò in October 2008 based on his positive doping control at the 2008 Tour de France.
"Yesterday, the UCI sided with the AFLD's [French anti-doping agency] decision to give Riccò two years," UCI press officer Enrico Carpani told Cyclingnews. Carpani corrected an earlier statement to Cyclingnews, when he denied the Cycling Union lengthening Riccò's suspension.
Riccò tested positive for the blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) CERA July 8, 2008. The French anti-doping agency announced the result on July 17, after he had won two stages.
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) suspended Riccò in October 2008. He appealed in March to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to have the suspension's length reduced to 20 months.
"The problem is that CONI did not have jurisdiction to give a suspension to Riccò. They operated correctly, but it was useless," said Carpani.
He said Riccò's case is similar to Spaniard Alejandro Valverde at the 2008 Tour de France. Italy ruled on Valverde because it had collected blood from him when the race stoped inside its boarders. It will be the Cycling Union's decision whether to make Italy's two-year suspension global, said Carpani.
Carpani said Riccò can present to the Cycling Union the same evidence he presented to the CAS. It may decide to reduce its 24-month decision based on Riccò's evidence and cooperation.
Riccò signed a contract through 2011 with Italian team Ceramica Flaminia last month. He planned to return to racing March 18, 2010.