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Ricco confesses to blood transfusion

Cycling News
October 11, 14:30,
October 11, 14:59

But claims it was done “on medical prescription”

Riccardo Ricco has finally confessed to giving himself a blood transfusion, but claimed it was “done only on medical prescription.”  The Italian was hospitalized for kidney failure after apparently using blood which had been stored too long or improperly.

As recently as last month, he denied to the Italian Olympic Committee that his medical problems were caused by an illegal blood transfusion.

Doctors at the hospital claimed that Ricco said his problems resulted from an autologous blood transfusion,which he later denied. Subsequent examinations of his medical records showed hallmarks of an infection caused by the infusion of improperly stored blood.

He was subsequently fired by Vacansoleil-DCM, and in June signed with the Croatian Continental-ranked team Meridiana Kamen. He never rode for them, however, as first the Italian Cycling Federation suspended him shortly after the signing was announced, citing health concerns,and then the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) followed suit extending the ban worldwide.

He has been investigated by both CONI, as well as by public prosecutors. He faces not only a lifetime ban, since he has already served a two-year ban for EPO, but also up to a three-year prison sentence.

According to Italian media sources, he has now changed his story and confessed to the transfusion before CONI. His statement was sent to the public prosecutor in Modena, who is wrapping up its investigation.

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