Zero tolerance for Italian rider if guilty of transfusion
Vacansoleil manager Daan Luijckx has promised to act swiftly and decisively with Riccardo Riccó after it emerged the Italian had possibly conducted a blood transfusion and was consequently admitted to hospital on Sunday.
Luijckx hasn't been able to reach Riccó and his manager and while he's not overly optimistic, he's trying to maintain the appropriate level of impartiality.
"We have to make do with the news from Italy. The fact that he is not reachable, I find it strange," Luijckx told news agency ANP.
"We assume it's true. But as a good employer should, we apply both sides to the present situation. We are working hard on it, but it is not easy.
"At the moment I'm assuming the worst."
Riccó was given another chance with Vacansoleil-DCM, the team signing him late last year before it heard news of its upgraded ProTeam status.
He was coming off a 20-month ban after being found guilty of using CERA during the 2008 Tour de France, during which he was infamously kicked off the race. Then-teammate Leonardo Piepoli was also found to have used the banned substance but has since retired.
Vacansoleil has a zero tolerance policy of doping in the team and Luijckx was pulling no punches when asked what would happen to the rider should he be found guilty of another doping offence.
"If we get something fixed, it's over for Riccó. A rider like him, who has previously been suspended, he knows that the next mistake [means a] lifetime suspension," said Luijckx.
"We have all sorts of clauses in the contract which stipulate that it [a doping offence] could incur a substantial fine and damages. That he is going to so much trouble, I cannot understand."
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