Riccardo Ricco has said he has nothing to do with his girlfriend Vania Rossi testing positive for EPO CERA.
The Italian Olympic Committee suspended Rossi on Friday after a sample she gave on January 10, following her second place in the Italian national cyclo-cross championships, indicated EPO CERA.
Ricco failed a test for the same blood-boosting drug in the 2008 Tour de France but told Gazzetta dello Sport that he had nothing to do with his girlfriend’s positive. Ricco’s ban ends on March 19 and surprisingly he is training with the Flaminia-Bianchi team in Tuscany, rather than being at his girlfriend’s side.
Gazzetta claimed that Ricco could try and force his girlfriend to take a DNA test to try and prove her innocence. The news of Rossi’s positive test for EPO CERA caused massive headlines in Italy and could overshadow Ricco’s return to racing.
“What’s happened? I know as much as anyone else. I’ve been away from home for three months but now everyone will put two and two together and ask ‘Who gave it to her? I’ll be guilty again,” Ricco said.
“I trust her. If she tells me something, I believe her. I don’t think she tells lies. At least I hope so because otherwise it a mess, especially with a baby involved.”
“When I was found positive, I confessed everything. I was honest. I hope she does the same. People know I don’t like her racing, you can imagine what I think about her taking anything. Cycling isn’t for women, it hurts too much.”
“The thing that bothers me is what people will think. I didn’t need this but I can’t go and kill myself. I’m going to carry on training. It’s a strange situation but it’s nothing to do with me. We’ll do the counter-analysis but in the meantime I’ve been splashed all over the newspapers.”
Doctors condemns taking EPO CERA while breast feeding
Vania Rossi has denied taking EPO CERA but she admitted she breast fed her six-month old son Alberto just before the anti-doping control on January 10.
Roberto Corsetti, the Liquigas team doctor and the president of the Italian cycling Doctors Association condemned taking EPO CERA while breast-feeding.
“Taking CERA during breast feeding is crazy because the drugs is passed on to the baby via the mother’s milk. Mothers should try and avoid taking any medicines, never mind something like CERA…,” he told Gazzetta.
“If a mother needs the drug as treatment then they’re told to stop breast feeding.”
Doping is a criminal offence in Italy and Vania Rossi is likely to be question by the anti-drug NAS police. She will also face questioning by the Italian Olympic Committee anti-doping investigators.