The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed Riccardo Riccò's appeal against his ban for doping, confirming that the Italian rider is suspended until April 2024.
Riccò had claimed that the Italian Anti-Doping Tribunal was not impartial when it banned him in 2012, that proceedings were flawed and affected by procedural issues. However, sole arbitrator Professor Ulrich Haas of Germany threw out his arguments and confirmed the ban.
Riccò responded to the news and comments on the CAS verdict with a succinct message on Twitter: "Ma drogatevi un po' che vi fa bene" – "Go and take drugs, it'll do you good," he wrote.
The Italian climber has been one of the most controversial riders of recent years.
Riccò's career ended when he was rushed to hospital in February 2011 after apparently transfusing his own blood, which he had kept in his fridge at home. Doctors saved his life, reportedly saying they "pulled him back from the brink of death."
Riccò has always denied he transfused his own blood, claiming his problems were caused by taking iron supplements, but he was banned by the Italian Olympic Committee's Anti-doping Tribunal in 2012. He was given a 12-year ban because it was his second doping offence. In 2008, he tested positive for the banned blood booster CERA after winning two stages at the Tour de France. He was arrested by French police during the race and given a 20-month ban.
He made a comeback in 2010 with the Flaminia team and then joined Vacansoleil in August of that year. He was sacked by the team in February 2011, a few days after being rushed to hospital.