• Riccardo Ricco at the 2008 Tour de France (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Riccardo Ricco has been handed a lifetime ban by Italy's anti-doping tribunal after being found guilty in another investigation.
By
SBS Cycling Central

15 Dec 2020 - 11:39 AM 

Ricco, considered in his youth to be a potential great, doesn't currently hold a racing license but has been banned for life by Italy's Tribunale Nazionale Antidoping and ordered to pay €4378 (A$7055) in combined fines and costs.

Now 37 years old, he was caught red-handed by police trying to buy EPO and testosterone from dealers in a Livorno car park in 2015.

The drugs were allegedly stolen from a hospital before being sold to several professional athletes in various sports.

In 2008, Ricco shot to prominence with two stage wins at the Giro d'Italia and was the best young rider but tested positive for the drug CERA at the Tour de France and copped a two-year ban.

His professional career ended in 2011 after being taken to hospital for reportedly doing a transfusion with infected blood - he was banned for 12 years.

Raging about Ricco
At this stage of the game we don't exactly know what happened to Riccardo Ricco. All we have are pieces of a larger personal story waiting to be stitched together.

Earlier this year, he admitted to being a drug cheat in an interview with Corriere della Sera, claiming he would have reached the pinnacle of cycling had he managed his career better.

“I was a talented little bully, an idiot who threw away money and a career," he said.

"If I had managed my anger and my ability with the maturity I have now, I would have won the Tour and the Giro.

"But my destiny was clear: we don’t get to decide when we grow up.

“I doped massively because it seemed like an inevitable choice if I wanted to win - the investigation and controls have proven that.

"12 years ago I looked down on the world from the podium of the Tour but I knew I was a cheat.

Ricco now runs a gelato shop with his wife Melissa in the Italian town of Vignola.