Riccardo Riccò may return to racing for the Italian Continental Amore & Vita squad at the upcoming Giro delle Toscana, a 196km one-day race from Sesto Fiorentino to Arezzo on June 19, provided the embattled Italian rider adheres to several conditions from team owner Ivano Fanini.
"If he will respect my requests we'll see again a number on his back at the next edition of Tour of Tuscany, on June 19," said Fanini. "I'm also sure he will be able to fight for victory. Our goal is to give him a second chance to get back and then find a spot on a WorldTour team in 2012."
In a press release issued today, the Amore & Vita team outlined the five conditions upon which they would allow Riccò to join the squad.
"1. At the next meeting with Fanini, Riccardo must have removed the two earrings, piercings and also the diamond embedded in a tooth. This is evidence of a totally new image.
2. He must stop working with his agent and also with his trainer. These professionals, and even a his lawyer, will not follow or advise him any longer.
3. He must update immediately the biological passport and never have a drug or a syringe with him, unless expressly authorized by the team.
4. He must come to live with his wife and son in a villa on my property a few minutes from team headquarters so we can check him at any time.
5. He must be available to speak with the competent authorities about his knowledge on the doping system."
Riccò is still awaiting the outcome of the police investigation into exactly what happened when he was rushed to hospital on February 6. It was reported that he told the emergency room doctor that he'd undergone a botched blood transfusion but he denied this after leaving hospital.
Riccò was a member of Vacansoleil-DCM at the time of the incident, and the Dutch ProTeam suspended and ultimately fired him for "violation of internal team rules and other indications" following their own investigation.
Riccò made his return to the sport in March, 2010 with the Ceramica-Flaminia team following his 20-month ban for doping during the 2008 Tour de France. The Italian then transferred to Vacansoleil in the latter portion of the 2010 season.
Despite the chance of a permanent ban from cycling if Riccò's found guilty of blood doping, Fanini believes in his talents and hopes he can return to top-level competition once again.
"At the moment Riccardo, in my opinion, is the only Italian who can make amazing performances in at least two major Tours in the same season and go strong all year, riding clean against just as clean opponents," said Fanini.
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