Medical examinations prove that Riccardo Riccò underwent a blood transfusion, according to the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. An examination of his blood “confirm that the Vacansoleil rider was administered poorly preserved blood,” the newspaper said.
Riccò was admitted to hospital over the weekend with a high fever and in critical condition. Italian media reported that he told a doctor he had given himself a transfusion, but there are also reports that he has denied saying that.
Both the Italian police, the Italian Olympic committee (CONI) and his Vacansoleil team are investigating whether illegal doping played a role in his medical emergency, and according to recent reports are looking for whoever assisted the Italian with the suspected blood transfusion. His partner Vania Rossi said she was not at home at the time of his collapse.
The 27-year-old has not yet been personally interviewed by investigators. However, De Telegraaf said, the question is no longer whether he engaged in blood doping but whether he did it alone or with help.
Meanwhile, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey expressed disappointment that a rider who had already served a ban for doping would continue doping.
"I'm very disappointed, it's tragic that someone can put himself in danger," Fahey said on Thursday. "It's dreadful to see an athlete recommit."