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Riccardo Ricco quits cycling… he's off to be a bartender

"Ricco is no more" although we probably haven't heard the last of him...

Riccardo Ricco today announced he's quitting cycling, in an interview with today's Gazetta dello Sport the disgraced former VancanSoleil rider said that the cycling world "makes me want to puke" so he's off,"Ricco is no more", he says.

And what does the future hold for the bad(est) boy of cycling "I am going to become a bar tender, I've always liked it ", Ricco told the paper– a career choice that at the very least opens him up to numerous shot-based jokes, either that, says Ricco, or he is going to work in a factory where he won't have to do too much thinking. Hmm.

He may be bowing out but if his Gazzetta interview is anything to go by Ricco is not leaving with his tail between his legs - as well as being sick of cycle racing and the people in it, he also maintained he was innocent of the latest allegation of doping stemming from his hospitalisation last month with suspected kidney failure. Ricco denied telling the doctor treating him that he had given himself a blood transfusion.

"He says this, I say something else. I was a bit out of it and I don’t know what I might have said,” before adding. “We’ll see from the tests who is telling the truth.”

Riccó's decision that he has had enough of cycling may well prove to be academic, if found guilty of doping a second time he faces a life ban from the sport. CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee which oversees disicplinary matters in cases of doping in Italian sport immediately opened disciplinary proceedings when details of Ricco's recent hospitalisation were announced. The rider also faces a judicial investigation into his conduct.

Ricco's career has been on a downward trajectory since he failed a drugs test for EPO at the 2008 Tour following the second and most spectacular of his mountain stage wins. Riccó returned from the resulting ban in March last year (he was also handed a suspended prison sentence by a French court) and had looked to have made it back to the top level of the sport by securing himself a berth on the VacanSoleil team for this season.

Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.

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