Operation Cobra-Red sparks arrest of Ricco's brother in law
The Ceramica Flaminia team has suspended Enrico Rossi after the Italian rider was arrested during a police operation carried out by the NAS anti-drugs squad across central Italy.
According to reports in Gazzetta dello Sport, a total of six people were arrested, including an amateur rider, a nurse and a pharmacist.
Another 35 people are under investigation after police carried out 40 searches across central and northern Italy. Six of these are reported to be professional riders. Police suspect the group are involved in a drug-dealing ring that also includes gyms and thefts from hospitals.
The investigation is being co-ordinated by police in Perugia and has been named 'Operation Cobra-Red. In Italian 'rosso' means red, while Cobra is Riccardo Riccò's nickname. He does not appear to be involved in the investigation.
However Rossi is the brother of Riccò's partner Vania Rossi. She failed a test for the blood boosting drug CERA in January but her B sample analysis failed to confirm the positive. Riccò tested positive for CERA at the 2008 Tour de France but returned to racing this year. He rode with Enrico Rossi at the Ceramica Flaminia team until moving to the Vacansoleil team at the start of September.
Rossi won the Dwars Door Drenthe race in Belgium this year and recently finished sixth in the Paris-Brussels race.