Riccardo Riccò is back in the headlines in Italy after sneaking into a sportif ride on Sunday to help his friends achieve a better result.
The Italian Olympic Committee suspended Riccò from any form of competition on June 11 after obtaining evidence from the police investigation into the causes of his acute kidney failure in February.
According to one of the event organisers who did not wish to be identified, Riccò joined the 163km Gran Fondo Prologo-Giovanni Lombardi after 10km, appearing from behind a house. He then helped his friends by working to close the gap on a group of breakaway riders.
Despite being told to leave the event by other participants, Riccò rode the whole course and then even had the nerve to use the shower facilities provided by the organisers at the finish in Voghera, near Milan. At that point he was ordered to leave the event by the organisers.
Cyclingnews contacted Riccò to get his version of events but he said laconically: “I don’t think it's worth talking about. Ciao.”
Riccò is facing a lifetime suspension after also testing positive for CERA during the 2008 Tour de France.
In a brief interview broadcast on Sky Italia, Ricco' denied any wrong doing, claiming his illness was caused by a simple temperature.
“After four months I want to give my version of the facts and what happened on the fifth of February. After getting back from training, I had a temperature. I thought it was just an ordinary temperature and I went to bed but I woke up two days later in the intensive care unit of the Baggiovara hospital.”
“A lot of people immediately judged me without really knowing what happened, especially lots of my colleagues, which really hurt me.”
“I signed a contract but after three days the (Italian Cycling) Federation and the CONI (Comitato Olimpico Nationale Italiano) blocked my comeback. I think they’re using double standards and that Ricco’s sentence has already been decided.”