Italian to return in March
The International Cycling Union (UCI) denied lengthening Riccardo Riccò's suspension by four months on Thursday. The Italian is serving a suspension because of a failed doping test at the 2008 Tour de France.
Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport reported on its website today that Riccò's suspension was lengthened from March 17 to July 17, 2010.
"We don't know about this, the news did not come from us," UCI press officer Enrico Carpani said to Cyclingnews. Its president, Pat McQuaid, was also unaware of Riccò's suspension being lengthened.
Riccò tested positive for blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) CERA on July 8, 2008. The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) announced the result on July 17, after he had won two stages.
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) suspended him for two years. Riccò appealed the suspension's length to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and had the suspension reduced to 20 months.
Last month, he signed a contract through 2011 with Italian team Ceramica Flaminia.