Ricco to front CONI hearing on Friday

Former Vacansoleil-DCM rider Riccardo Ricco has been called to appear before the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) on Friday morning.

The 27-year-old was hospitalised on February 6 with heart and lung infections following an alleged autologous blood transfusion that went wrong. According to police records obtained by Gazzetta dello Sport, Ricco admitted to transfusing blood he had kept in a domestic fridge for 25 days. However, in the same publication earlier this month, Ricco has since denied admitting such a thing.

"CONI will ban me and it'll all be over," Ricco said. "That's what they wanted.

"But whatever the verdict I won't race again. You [the media] have already decided the verdict. I haven't read the papers but I've been told that you've already put me on trial. But this isn't a doping case, I didn't test positive but I've already been condemned as guilty."

Under Italian law he could face between three months and three years in jail for doping offences. Should the World Anti-Doping Authority find Ricco guilty of doping, he faces a life ban following his 20-month suspension for his 2008 positive for CERA.

"I haven't seen the police documents but I've got my medical records and there's nothing written on them. It's all been made up," he continued. "He [the doctor] says one thing and I say another. But I was almost dead and don't know what I could have said. Let's see what the [blood] analysis says. I didn't say absolutely anything to the doctor."

Ricco was sacked by Vaconsoleil-DCM on February 19.

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