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No Quick Step for Riccardo Riccò; he’s headed to Vacansoleil

Riccardo Riccò, who just days ago said he was going to join Quick Step, has penned a deal with Dutch team Vacansoleil.

Riccò penned a deal with the Dutch outfit through the 2012 season and hopes to start racing with the squad as soon as this weekend’s GP de Ploauy in France on Sunday.

“I want to win back the fans’ trust with attacks, but I know it will take awhile,” said Riccò on the team’s web page. “In choosing Vacansoleil, it’s an environment of zero-tolerance and committed to clean cycling. I’m happy to join the team in my second life in cycling.”

The Vacansoleil deal came together very fast, according to team officials. The Dutch squad wanted an elite climber and they hope they found one in Riccò, who won two stages but was later booted out of the 2008 Tour de France for testing positive for CERA-EPO.

Whether or not Riccò will be able to start the Vuelta a España later this month remains to be seen.

Riccò’s name did not appear on a preliminary start list revealed Thursday by Vuelta race organizers. It will be interesting to see if Vuelta officials allow Riccò to race. Last year, Michael Rasmussen tried to find a late-hour ride with a Spanish team but was denied a starting place in the Vuelta when his name was not listed on the preliminary start list.

Last week, Ceramica Flaminia officials confirmed that Riccò would be leaving the team.

Riccò served a 20-month ban and returned to racing this season in mid-March. He won stages and finished overall at both the Settimana Lombarda and the Giro del Trentino, but his Flaminia team was not invited to the Giro d’Italia. Riccò recently won two stages and the overall at the Tour of Austria.

(Related: A list of recent confirmed ProTour transfers, extensions and retirements)

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