Italian cyclist Ricardo Ricco admitted today that a blood transfusion led to his hospitalisation. It counts for the second doping incident with the 2008 Tour de France and will likely lead to at least a five-year ban.

The 27-year-old told doctors; “I did an autologous blood transfusion.” According to Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The public prosecutor of Modena, where Riccò has been hospitalised since Sunday, said that he will open an investigation.

It is the second doping investigation for Riccardo Riccò in three years. He tested positive for blood booster EPO-CERA at the Tour de France in 2008. The test results were revealed on July 17, after he had won two stages (Super-Besse and Bagnères-de-Bigorre).

Riccò served a 20-month suspension and lost his two stages wins as a result.

Last year, he returned with Italian second division team Ceramica Flaminia as if nothing ever happened, winning five stages in various races and the Tour of Austria overall classification.

He left Ceramica Flaminia at the end of the season when he annulled his contract for a fee of €75,000. He joined Vacansoleil in August and helped the team gain a first division, WorldTour licence with his UCI points.

He began his season a week ago at the GP Marseillaise one-day in France. He was due to start the Tour Méditerranéen stage race tomorrow.

Riccò now faces another Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) and a possible five-year to lifetime ban. The Italian anti-doping tribunal (TNA) issued Italian cyclist Lorenzo Bernucci a five-year year ban yesterday on the recommendation of CONI. Bernucci was caught with drugs in his house, his second offence in three years.

“Riccò’s condition, initially critical, is improving,” read a medical bulletin last night. “The prognosis, being cautious, remains confidential.”

He had felt ill on Saturday after training and told his dad Rubino Riccò that he had a fever of 38°C. It rose to 40°C overnight and was accompanied by abdominal pain. Rubino took his son to the local hospital in Pavullo Sunday morning. Doctors saw Riccò’s condition was critical and transferred him to the hospital in Modena.

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Ricco remains hospitalised with likely kidney problems

  • Matt

    So ‘the prognosis remains confidential’ yet what Ricco may or may not have said to Doctors as to the cause of his illness, that is not confidential? Much about this case remains to be confirmed, yet it seems as matters unfold, true or not, it is published in the media. Will Vacansoleil now give up the points that Ricco brought to the squad? Not bloody likely. So much for an individual’s right to privacy, but who cares when no one likes the person involved, its justified no?

  • Bert

    He should be ban for life!!!!!

  • Jon

    I’m with Mark Jones – a life ban for a second offence would be an effective deterrent. It’s a no brainer.

    Get well soon Ricco. When your ban expires why don’t you tell a load of porkies about being clean and carry on doping? Then you can pocket the cash and hope you don’t get caught again. After all it’s all about money and hollow victories isn’t it? You don’t have the balls to compete without cheating do you? Why would you think any differently with role models like Armstrong and Contador?

  • Bfg

    If there is any justice in life then Ricco will end up trying another comeback with a pannier rack and a dialysis machine bolted to it. Hopefully this would be enough to make the peleton and the UCI clean up there acts.

  • yamyam

    business as usual, nothing ever suprises me

  • Geoff Myers

    I love cycling but I hate it in equal measure at the moment, Contador, Vinokourov, Ricco,are ALL drug cheats, yet they ALL have Pro Rides!

    As long as the teams keep turning a blind eye and picking them up when their bans expire Cycling will NEVER be clean. A lot of the teams clearly don’t give a monkeys until their CHEAT gets found out, so why don’t we just let them all get on with it? they will all die anyway none of that stuff is any good for you in the long term.
    I am VERY disillusioned

  • Julian

    This (doping of all sorts) has got to stop! Cheating should be rewarded with a permanent loss of licence; that sanction should concentrate minds.

  • Mark Jones

    He should never return to cycling after this and the UCI ought to think hard about it’s stance on doping, as this highlights the dangers that certain cyclists are risking for doping. This is an insult to Aldo Sassi’s legacy and all the work he did.

    One offence should result in disqualification for 2-3 years and a second offence should mean a ban for life.

  • Katie

    Once an rectum piece always a rectum piece, not only a life ban from competing but a life ban from even attending cycling events. I’m afraid unlike others I don’t wish him a speedy recovery

  • Livio

    I’m gutted.

    What really makes me angry is the fact that he (Ricco) promised to Aldo Sassi (Mapei Centre chief physiologist ) that he would continue on in the right way.

    Sassi did put lots of expectation in Ricco and all this only a few month before his death (Sadly, Sassi passed away suddenly in December due to a brain tumour).

    I came from a village that is 45 minutes away from Ricco’s town, therefore I train on the same roads used by him, because of this I’m even more gutted.

    If found guilty he should be disqualified for life.

  • Steve clarke

    I totally agree with Adam, Ricco is a complete twat and I don’t want to hear about him again!
    WHY do teams take on DOPERS ? Let’s have 4 – 6 year bans then they would be useless after the ban.
    It’s about time that the UCI cleaned up OUR sport and got rid of all the cheats, waste of money putting stickers on bikes, let’s have more time, money and effort catching not only the riders, but also the chain of supply.

  • martin

    anyone who keeps their own blood in the fridge, to inject at a later date deserves all they get

    and i’m not talking about cycling sanctions here

    i most definitely do not wish him a speedy recovery

  • Brian

    In short, Saxo Bank is part of the UCI World Tour thanks to Contador. Vancansoleil is part of the World Tour thanks to Ricco and Mosquera. Astana and Radioshack are still part of the pro elite too. Next July, Basso and Vinokourov will be hoping to win the Tour. Valverde is preparing to make a sparkling comeback in 2012 with the full devoted support of Movistar. C’mon guys, Fat Pat and his gang are the ones who should be banned for life.

  • adam

    Look at every interview he gave, everything he said, all his heroes…. cocky little gobshite.

    Obviously, as another human being, one wishes him a speedy recovery. But then one also wishes that he’ll make an equally speedy exit from anything to do with cycling… and NEVER reappear.

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Cycling Weekly, Cycle Sport and anyone else. We DO NOT need to read any interviews with him ever again. I don’t care how sorry he is. I don’t care how he’ll show us he can ride clean. DO NOT give him the column inches… just let him disappear.

  • Tony

    A complete utter tw*t, he must be the thickest man on the planet, no sympathy fro me. But it makes you wonder how many more there are still doing it??

  • Andy

    Is it just me or does Ricky look like the shiftiest cyclist around? He has a permanent fake and forced smile of a cheat on his face. And he’s ginger!..

  • Matthew

    I don’t know whether to be angry or sad. I think I’m both. Very depressing.

    Firstly regardless of what I think of Ricco as a person I wish him nothing but the best in his recovery.

    Secondly I think the UCI need a look at this. Ricco and DiLuca have both come back from suspension to dope some more. I’m sure others can come up with more examples of this. Will Valverde, Schumacher etc. be clean when they come back?

    I still think after Puerto the UCI should have done an amnesty, wiped the slate clean and then introduced life bans for any doping offence.

  • Rick Robson

    Mama Mia! Can someone put ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ by the Verve on Ricco’s Ipod, while he’s in hospital?