AP has reported that documents released by the Italian Olympic Committee on Monday outlined how Italian cyclist Riccardo Riccò injected himself with the blood-boosting drug CERA the day before the start of the Tour de France. It was also revealed that Riccò had maintained contact with Carlo Santuccione since 2007; Santuccione was at the centre of the Drugs for Oil scandal that dates back to 2004.
Riccò was banned for two years earlier this month by the Italian Olympic body, CONI, after admitting to doping during the Tour de France. CONI reduced the doping part of the ban by six months from the maximum two years due to his collaboration, but it also added six months because Riccò had visited Santuccione, already banned for life by CONI.
Documentation shows that Riccò first contacted Santuccione via former team director Daniele Tortoli, and met with the doctor on June 8 ahead of the Tour. Santuccione advised him to take CERA the day before the Tour began, saying it could not be traced in anti-doping tests and the effects would be noticeable a week later. It obviously worked - Riccò won the Tour's sixth and ninth stages in spectacular fashion before testing positive on July 17.
Riccò also told the court that his teammate Leonardo Piepoli used CERA, although Piepoli later denied it in testimony to CONI. Both riders were fired by the Saunier-Duval team and Piepoli's case with CONI is still pending.
Riccò's lawyers were awaiting the release of the court files before deciding on a possible appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.