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Controversial Italian refuses to admit defeat
Riccardo Riccò has told Cyclingnews he is “in training” and “ready to race” again but admitted he currently has no indication of when the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) might announce a verdict in the doping case against him.
Contacted by Cyclingnews, CONI’s anti-doping department declined to comment on Riccò’s case.
“I’m training and I’m fit, so now I’m just waiting. I don’t have dates for any more hearings,” the self-styled “Cobra” said, revealing he has not been following the Tour de France.
“I’m not really watching the Tour, although I’m happy to see my old friend Johnny Hoogerland in the break today. I’m too busy with other things to watch the Tour. What things? Just this and that,” he said.
Riccò has not raced since he was hospitalized in early February, allegedly as a result of a botched blood transfusion. Summoned by CONI on April 13, he denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he had suffered from “a normal illness”. In June, he signed for the Croatian-registered, Naples-based Meridiana-Kamen outfit in the hope of riding the Tour of Serbia, but was sidelined by the Italian Cycling Federation “for the protection of his own health”.
"He has a problem,” Italian Cycling Federation president Renato di Rocco said in April. “The allure of cycling can become an addiction but I hope he really has a good think about things. The damage he’s caused to cycling has been enormous. I hope he can grow up outside of the sport.”
After his problems in February, Riccò initially said that cycling “disgusted” him and that he would “become a barman”.
Four months on, it seems he hasn’t kicked the addiction to the sport just yet.