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Breaking News: Riccardo Ricco Tests Non-Negative at 2008 Tour de France

News & Results

07/17/2008| 0 comments
by Thomas Valentinsen
Ricardo Ricco (Saunier Duval - Scott).
Ricardo Ricco (Saunier Duval - Scott).

Breaking News: Riccardo Ricco Tests Non-Negative at 2008 Tour de France

The French Antidoping Agency has announced that Italian rider Riccardo "slow-worm" Ricco (Saunier Duval - Scott) has tested non-negative for the banned blood-booster EPO (erythropoietin) in a doping test carried out after the stage 4 individual time trial of the 2008 Tour de France, which took place in the city of Cholet.

The French Antidoping Agency has announced that Italian rider Riccardo "slow-worm" Ricco (Saunier Duval - Scott) has tested non-negative for the banned blood-booster EPO (erythropoietin) in a doping test carried out after the stage 4 individual time trial of the 2008 Tour de France, which took place in the city of Cholet.

Riccardo Ricco finished 2nd overall at the 2008 Giro d'Italia and won stage 6 and stage 9 of this year's Tour de France. He was removed from the Saunier Duval - Scott team bus by French police officials earlier today. Audience crowds booed at him as he entered the police car. Apparently spectators are getting sick of doping destroying the both beautiful and barbaric sport of cycling.

Ricco was planning on winning the 2008 Tour de France's king mountain stage to L'Alpe d'Huez next week. The only hope Ricco has of scoring a hat-trick now will be doping test wise.

The entire Saunier Duval - Scott team has withdrawn from the 2008 Tour de France after its team leader tested non-negative.

Riccardo Ricco is the third rider to test non-negative for EPO at this year's Tour de France. Earlier on Manuel Beltran (Team Liquigas) and Moises Duenas Nevado (Team Barloworld) were removed from the race - but the rest of their respective teams are still taking part in the Tour de France 2008. Commenting on Ricco's test results AFLD President Pierre Bordry told Reuters that "It's for the same product as the other two."

Ricco’s non-negative test result underscores the importance of the entire Tour de France peloton being tested for EPO use during the race. Roadcycling.com yesterday called for the Tour organizers to test all riders either before or after a single stage of the Tour. For instance on the morning before the tough ride to l’Alpe d’Huez? The Tour organizers and cycling team bosses have been busy telling the viewers and readers that the non-negative test results prove that the testing system works – but in our opinion the current system allows for far too many cheaters to make their way through the Tour without being spotted.

We also still propose that the whole team should always be withdrawn from the race if a rider from a team tests non-negative. Collective punishment will make riders less likely to engage in illegal doping activities on their own and will make it less likely that teammates will feel themselves obliged to keep silent about things they discover.

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