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Riccardo Riccò's partner tests positive for CERA

Vania Rossi denies charge, says she was breastfeeding son while waiting for doping control

Vania Rossi, the partner of former Saunier Duval-Prodir rider Riccardo Riccò, due to return shortly from a 20-month ban from the sport, has herself failed a drugs test, according to a statement released by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) on Friday. Rossi, however, vehemently denies that she uses performance-enhancing drugs, pointing out that she has been breastfeeding since giving birth to a baby boy last July.

CONI said that traces of the banned substance CERA – the same substance that Ricco tested positive for during the 2008 Tour de France – had been found in an A sample taken from Rossi during the Italian National Cyclocross Championships in Segrate, Milan, during January, a race in which she finished second. She was immediately suspended by tha Italian national anti-doping authorities.

Although she is at a loss to explain how traces of CERA ended up in the sample taken from her, Rossi vehemently protests her innocence, telling Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, “I’d never put my baby at risk for a bike race.” She added: “That Sunday, while I was waiting to do the test, I breast-fed my son. If I’d taken CERA or anything else, I’d need to be locked up.”

Riccò, meanwhile, is due to return to racing in March following his 20-month ban, and has been signed for 2010 by the Ceramica Flaminia team.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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