October 26, 2009
In the 2008 Tour de France Riccardo Riccó was ejected from the race after Stage 11 having tested positive for CERA, the next generation of the blood-booster EPO. This week UCI, the world cycling governing body, have reduced his 2 year suspension to 20 months after a successful appeal by Riccó to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). This means that he will now be eligible to ride as and from the Milan San Remo next March.
I had written in a previous post that ex-dopers aren’t welcomed easily back to the peloton. They find it difficult to find a top team willing to sign them and even harder to instill enough confidence in their team mates to convince them to ride for their newly reformed leader. It was pointed out however, that there are exceptions. Ivan Basso for example, returned to Grand Tour racing at the Giro earlier this year without registering too much on the returning-doper-animosity scale. Perhaps the two riders that currently lie on opposite ends of this scale are British rider David Millar and Alexander Vinokorouv from Kazakhstan. They were both cheats and were both found guilty of taking drugs. But Millar is now more well-known for his anti-doping stance rather than his prior misdemeanors, whereas ‘Vino’ is probably more synonymous with the phrase ‘unapologetic wanker’.