Tour de France 2008: Ricco: Admits Use Of Performance Enhancing Drugs Before Tour de France

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30.07.2008/Riccardo Riccò admitted to Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) anti-doping investigators in Rome this morning that he took perfomance enhancing drugs before the Tour de France. Although French tv station France 3 reported 2 weeks ago that Riccò also delivered a positive a sample during this years Giro d'Italia, Riccò insisted that he was riding clean during this years tour of Italy. Riccò faces a two year ban but his punishment could be reduced if he tells who supplied him with the drug.  The Italian rider was sacked by his team Scott - American Beef (previously riding under the name Saunier Duval - Scott) and its expected that Riccò will also face criminal charges by French state authorities for possesion of prohibited substances.

© Heinz Zwicky
(© Heinz Zwicky)

© Cyclingheroes
Riccardo Riccò "I've admitted my responsibility." (© Cyclingheroes)

Riccardo Riccò tested positive for Continuous Erythropietin Receptor Activator (CERA) , one of the third generation of epo products. 

During a court hearing in France earlier this month Riccò denied the use of epo  and said he could understand that he was sacked by Saunier Duval. "Thats a normal procedure, thats what all teams do in a situation like this."

But during a hearing by the Italian Olympic Committee's (CONI) anti-doping investigators in Rome this morning Riccò admitted to have taken performance enhancing drugs before this years Tour de France. After being interrogated by  CONI prosecuter Ettore Torri, Riccò told reporters outside of the building: "I've admitted my responsibility, it's all my own fault and I've decided not ask for the counter-analysis because there's no need."

French tv station France 3 reported earlier this month that Riccò also delivered a positive a sample for the drug during this years Giro d'Italia. But Riccò insists that he was riding clean during the Giro. "I was tired after the Giro d'Italia mentally and physically. I took it but it was a teenage shenanigan. At the Giro I was clean, then the Wednesday before leaving… I can't say where I got it from because there's a legal procedure underway."

Riccò was tested positive twice during the Tour. "During the Tour I was tested several times. Two of them were positive, although they all should have been positive. Its clear hat the controls are not 100% impervious because the products works a month long."

Riccò did not ask for clemency: "I think I've done the right thing by admitting my mistake. I haven't asked for clemency, I had a weight on my mind and wanted to get rid of it. At the moment my thoughts are for the staff of the team and my team mates who have lost their jobs because of me."

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