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Saunier Duval-Scott stops racing, Riccò in custody

The Saunier Duval team did not start stage 12.

The Saunier Duval team did not start stage 12. (Image credit: AFP)

Following the announcement that its rider Riccardo Riccò had failed a doping control, Saunier Duval-Scott withdrew from the Tour de France and has voluntarily suspended itself from competition, the team announced Thursday. The team was informed "an hour before the start" of stage 12 by the French anti-doping agency AFLD that Riccò had failed a test conducted after the stage four individual time trial.

A statement from the team said, "Although the Tour organisers allow teams to continue to participate after a positive test, given Riccò's important role to the team in the race, Saunier Duval-Scott have decided to withdraw in order to preserve the positive image of the team's sponsors and the Tour de France itself."

The team also suspended Riccò pending the counter-analysis of his B sample, and ceased all competition, not just its participation in the Tour, "until this unfortunate incident is clarified."

The team had not originally scheduled the young Italian to compete in the Tour de France, but Riccò was brought in as a late addition at the rider's request. The team's directeur sportif Pietro Algeri expressed his disappointment. "Mauro Gianetti and I did all of this work to be here, and now this happens," he told Cyclingnews. "It is a catastrophe."

Meanwhile, Riccò remains in the custody of French police at Mirepoix, around 20 kilometres north of Lavelanet where he was initially arrested on Thursday morning. According to l'Equipe, the Italian was questioned around 13.00 local time and is expected to spend Thursday night behind bars.

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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.