Ricco makes my stomach turn. His self administered name “The Cobra” couldn’t be closer to the truth, as the guy is indeed a snake (or snake charmer). How on earth has he managed to convince another team manager to sign him? I have heard the expression “no publicity is bad publicity,” but never really believed in it. This might be the case to prove it. Take a quick glance at the guys “Palmeres“.
When he was with Ceramica Panaria-Navigare in 2005 several of his blood tests revealed his hematocrit levels exceeded the 50% rule – this was supposed to be a “natural” phenomenon.
Then in 2008, he had a non-negative test for EPO following stage 4 of the Tour at Cholet, eventually leading to the whole Saunier Duval team withdrawing – and surely a key reason why the sponsor left the sport. The prosecutor in this case later testified that medical supplies, including syringes and equipment for intravenous drips, were found in his hotel room (granted unused – but what the hell were they doing there?). It was also revealed that Ricco had also attempted to escape the doping control officials after that stage, but got caught in traffic.
And now on February 6 this year he was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with kidney failure, allegedly due to a blood transfusion he performed on himself with 25-day-old blood. Ricco admitted to the doctor treating him, in the presence of his girlfriend, that he had performed the transfusion. Ricco of course now denies this admission. Now the question I have is, what has this doctor got to gain by making that story up?
Skip forward to this week and I read that he was in talks with the Amore & Vita team (clueless) with contract conditions requiring him to live close enough to team headquarters to be regularly observed. This didn’t pan out, as I assume the thought of his DS calling around anytime felt like it left little opportunity to hide the blood in the fridge.
Hopefully this is his last chapter in cycling, as he now signs with the Meridiana-Kamen team based in Serbia. How they can ignore all of the above and put ink on paper with a guy like this is perplexing. What frustrates me more than anything is the speed at which the investigations in Italy move. Here we are nearly 4 months on and we are none the wiser about what he did in fact do on Feb 6th. Why would anyone agree to sign him without knowing the investigations outcome based on his previous? I have a feeling that this is not going to be the end of this story. His new team have some promising new young riders on it, I am sure they are all drawing straws to see who shares a room with Ricardo. I just hope none of them share the initials “R.R”.
Well I guess I did learn a few things from all of this news today, the name of a new cycling team, Meridiana-Kamen (lets hope he doesn’t drag them down with him) and the fact I really don’t like Ricardo Ricco. After this last debacle apparently he was quoted as saying “cycling makes me vomit…”. Well, right about now Ricardo is making most of cycling vomit.