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Reports in Italy suggest the Cobra could be without an invite
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Riccardo Ricco has little chance of starting the Giro d’Italia this year. The claim comes on the back of recent comments made by the Giro’s promoter Angelo Zomegnan.
Zomegnan didn’t use Ricco’s name but his comments during a meeting with sponsors were meaningful: “At the 2010 Giro d’Italia, there will be riders in quarantine”, he said.
“In the past we have put our faith in riders who didn’t deserve it, as time showed later on [referring to Danilo Di Luca whose team was invited to participate to Milan-San Remo and Tirreno-Adriatico in 2008 while his case after the 2007 dope control at the Zoncolan was still pending].
“From this experience, we learnt that whoever has to be invited to the Giro will have to be patient for a certain period of time.”
The organising newspaper concluded that Ricco’s new team Flaminia will not be invited to the Giro this year.
Flaminia were denied a start at the Giro in the last two years. The ‘Cobra’ will return to competition next week at the Coppi-Bartali week
Riccò has rarely shown sign of remorse for his doping but has publicly asked for forgiveness as his ban comes to an end. Last month he told the press that the fans are behind his comeback.
"I don't think the tifosi are interested if there's doping (in cycling) or not. They're interested in the battle and competition. I don’t think real tifosi are interested in doping. If someone is a fan of Ricco, they still are now, even if he's made a mistake or not."
"I was a fan of [MotoGP pilot] Valentino Rossi even when he didn't pay taxes in Italy. For me a champion is a champion. I think my real fans see me as a 23-year-old who made a mistake but who can't wait to see him race again. That's how I see it. Of course there are other kinds of cycling fans but that's the way I see things."
Mark Cavendish recently told the press, "It's like a parasite coming back into the sport.” The sprinter bristles. "It's not the fact of what he did, because everyone can make a mistake. But he doesn't see it as a mistake. He's not even sorry about it."