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Riccò returns to France, faces criminal charges

Italian Riccardo Riccò, 25, returns to France

Italian Riccardo Riccò, 25, returns to France (Image credit: AFP)

A judge questioned Riccardo Riccò Friday in Foix, France, regarding the doping substances that led to his positive control this past July at the Tour de France. He faces three years of prison and a financial penalty of €45,000.

The Italian from Formigine left the Tour de France on July 17 after the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) announced he tested positive for EPO-CERA following stage four. It was later revealed he tested positive on two other occasions at the Tour, as well. He spent the night in police custody in Pamiers and faced interrogation the next day in Foix. He denied charges and was released and sent home.

Riccò confessed to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor on July 30. The sporting tribunal issued him a two year suspension, through July 30, 2010. He appealed the length to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) this month.

French judge Stephanie Furcy questioned Riccò in a pre-trial phase. She pardoned him for his initial false statements, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. The court has until the end of the year to decide to shelve the case or proceed with criminal charges. Riccò is accused of importing, buying, transporting, holding and using illegal substances.

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