Riccò starts testing with Sassi

Riccardo Riccò has begun testing at the Mapei Centre in Castellanza under the watchful eye of Aldo Sassi and Andrea Morelli as the previously-suspended Italian rider continues his comeback to professional cycling.

Riccò announced last month that he would undergo testing at the Mapei Centre with Sassi, who is regarded as one of the world leaders in coaching some of the sport's best riders, including former world champion Cadel Evans and this year's Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso.

La Gazzetta dello Sport explained that Riccò's morning session consisted of a constant load test, designed to determine the time of exhaustion of the athlete riding at a certain power, fixed according to the weight of the subject.

His afternoon session saw him undergo a V02 Max test, used to determine his oxygen displacement and the necessary pace for subsequent training sessions. Tomorrow he'll get on the road and be tested with a small climb.

Riccò was suspended for 20 months following a positive test for CERA at the 2008 Tour de France. He initially denied using the substance but later confessed, telling Italian Olympic Committee prosecutor Ettore Torri: "After the [2008] Giro, I had no plans to go to the Tour, and that is why I have taken the substance. I made a mistake of youth."

Now riding for Dutch Professional Continental squad Vacansoleil, he is continuing his comeback to professional cycling after his ban was lifted earlier this year; and while he has enjoyed success on the road, winning the overall title at the Tour of Austria and the Coppa Sabatini, his battle to regain credibility continues.

His decision to train at the Mapei Centre is part of that process, much in the vein of Ivan Basso's return to pro cycling following a doping-related suspension imposed in 2007. He trained with Aldo Sassi and sealed his comeback with victory in this year's Giro d'Italia.

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