Italian Riccardo Riccò, 25, is training again after his ejection from the Tour de France and subsequent two-year suspension. Italian authorities banned the cyclist from Formigine, positive for EPO-CERA, through October 2010, but he is staying focused on the bike.
"I thought I was losing [him], but things are going better. He is going out on his bike again and he also trains seven hours a day," said Riccò's dad, Rubino, to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Riccò was a favourite for the Tour de France thanks to his two stage wins and second overall in the Giro d'Italia. He delivered at the Tour de France with two stage victories, but was kicked out when the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) revealed he tested positive in a control it took on day four. The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) subsequently handed the rider known as "The Cobra" a two-year suspension 18 months for using EPO and six months for consulting Doctor Carlo Santuccione.
Rubino Riccò revealed his son is serious about returning in-form. He explained that Riccò teaches spinning at a gym in Modena and passed on joining in the family's woodworking business.
"The other night he came to dinner in Formigine, there were some sweets and he wouldn't go near them. He said, 'I am on a diet.'"
Last week, with the guidance of his lawyer, Riccò presented his appeal of the suspension's duration to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). It should rule on the appeal in the coming weeks. (GB)