Leukemans unhappy with Riccò's performance

Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil) has criticised his new teammate Riccardo Riccò’s performance at the GP de Wallonie yesterday and accused the Italian of riding against him in the finale.

“I accelerated on the last climb to try and win the race, but when I turned around I saw three riders on my wheel, including Riccò,” Leukemans told La Dernière Heure afterwards. “He should have left a gap so as to oblige [Paul] Martens and [Cadel] Evans to ride.”

Rabobank’s Martens eventually won the race, outsprinting Riccò and Evans, and Leukemans laid the blame squarely on the Italians shoulders. “Riccò was stuck to me and we gave it to Martens on a plate,” he said.

Leukemans, who ultimately finished in 6th place, had before the race questioned his team’s decision to sign the polarizing Riccò in mid-season. “Riccò does not have a UCI point,” he told Sporza. “I still wonder why the team would take a rider with no points.”

Riccò returned from a two-year suspension for the use of CERA in March of this year in the colours of Ceramica Flaminia. In August, Riccò signed for Vacansoleil after Flaminia’s repeated failure to be invited to the major races prompted him to buy out his contract with the Italian team.

Vacansoleil was not on the final list of 26 teams for the Tour of Lombardy announced by race organisers RCS Sport on Tuesday.

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.