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Tuscan police catch disgraced climber red handed
Riccardo Riccò has been accused of buying EPO and testosterone after being caught red handed with two dealers by Italian police in a car park in the Tuscan town of Livorno, according to reports in Italian media.
Ricco was banned for 12 years in 2011 after being rushed to hospital apparently following a botched blood transfusion. The controversial Italian climber had been planning to attack a series of records on well known cycling climbs such as Mont Ventoux but is now facing charges of receiving banned substances and dealing in banned substances. Doping is a crime in Italy.
According to a report on the Il Tirreno website, Ricco was caught with another local professional on Tuesday afternoon after collecting a bag containing 30 doses of drugs in the car park of an out of town McDonalds, north of Livorno. The two dealers are from Livorno, with one working in a local hospital.
The NAS, the branch of police specialising in drugs and health and safety, said in a press conference that 30 doses of drugs were seized during the operation which began in the nearby town of Lucca, with a further 100 doses and large sum of cash discovered during a search of the two dealers' homes.
Ricco won stages at the Giro d'Italia and was the best young rider in 2008 but tested positive for the blood-boosting drug CERA during that year's Tour de France. He served a two-year ban and made a comeback in 2010 but his career ended when he was rushed to hospital in 2011.
He was suspended for 12 years but continued to ride a bike, was invited to take part in several Gran Fondo events and announced his record attempts on cycling biggest climbs.
Ricco did not answer his phone when contacted by Cyclingnews.