Riccardo Riccò will make his return to cycling in 2010, one year after his positive doping test for blood booster EPO cast a shadow over the Tour de France and his former team Saunier Duval.
"It is right that there is a second chance," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport at a press conference on Sunday in Imola, Italy.
Riccò tested positive for the third generation Erythropoietin – CERA – July 8 at the 2008 Tour de France. The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) announced the result on July 17, after he had won two stages. Organisers have since annulled the wins.
The CERA positives of teammate Leonardo Piepoli, Stefan Schumacher and Bernard Kohl followed Riccò's. Saunier Duval stopped its sponsorship of the Spanish team before the end of the 2008 season, as a result of Piepoli and Riccò's positives.
Riccò is currently serving a 20-month ban, but he signed a contract through 2011 with Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce on Friday.
"I can return with my head high March 18, but with the humility of a neo-professional. I will have to battle the scepticism from many," he said.
Ceramica Flaminia-Bossini Docce is a professional continental team. It has the chance to race in Milano-Sanremo, two days after Riccò's suspension ends, and the 2010 Giro d'Italia. (GB)