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Riccardo Riccò came close but got no cigars. Nonetheless, his season was impressive for the youngster.
Banned cyclist finds team for 2010 return
Italy's Riccardo Riccò, 25, will make his return to cycling in March 2010 with Italian team Ceramica Flaminia. He is currently serving a 20-month suspension for doping because he failed a test at the 2008 Tour de France.
Ceramica Flaminia is the home of Italian Champion Filippo Simeoni. It is registered in Ireland and is a second division, or Professional Continental team. Team manager Roberto Marrone's new directeur sportif, Omar Piscina, helped sign Riccò.
The contract is valid through 2011and will be made official tomorrow.
Riccò tested positive for blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) CERA July 8 at the 2008 Tour de France while riding for Saunier Duval. The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) announced the result on July 17, after he had won two stages.
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) gave him a two-year suspension last year. Riccò appealed the length to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and had the suspension reduced to 20 months. His suspension ends March 18, 2010.
Riccò will be able to return to racing at Italian one-day classic, Milano-Sanremo, two days later. He will also be eligible to race the 2010 Giro d'Italia. He won two stages and finished second overall in the 2008 edition.