Riccardo Riccò, the Italian former professional cyclist who in 2012 was handed a 12-year ban for doping offences, may face prosecution for supplying drugs to an amateur cyclist, reports the Gazzetta di Modena.
A preliminary hearing at the end of the month will determine whether charges will be pressed against the 33-year-old and seven other suspects regarding the distribution and use of banned drugs among amateur cyclists in Emilia-Romagna.
The potential charges follow a Carabinieri operation in 2014 which alleges that prescriptions stolen from a hospital were used to obtain drugs including EPO and its variant, CERA.
Riccò is said to have supplied those products, among others, to a 28-year-old amateur rider who had wanted to improve his sporting performances.
The investigation, given the name Ti Piace Vincere Facile – which translates as, You Like to Win Easy – was taken over by magistrates in Modena, who have identified eight suspects, none of whom is a current professional rider.
Riccò reportedly also stands accused of having supplied recreational drugs to another suspect who comes from his own home town of Formigine.
The newspaper adds that among the suspects is the leaseholder of a brothel in Modena, who is alleged to have sold drugs to cyclists, including Riccò who has twice been banned for doping.
In 2008, he won two stages of the Tour de France but was fired by his Saunier Duval–Prodir team, which also withdrew from the race, after testing positive for CERA. He later received a 20-month ban.
Returning to the sport in 2010, he was fired by Vacansoleil in October of the following year after he became seriously ill as a result of a self-administered blood transfusion at his home.
He tried to return to racing with an Italian UCI Continental team but Italy’s national cycling federation stepped in to suspend him for the sake of his health and he was subsequently given a 12-year ban.
In 2014, he was reported to have been caught red-handed by Carabinieri as he attempted to buy prohibited substances including EPO and testosterone in a McDonald’s car park in Livorno, Tuscany.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.