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Riccardo Riccò – Italy’s bad boy of racing – already has a team for next season when his 20-month ban for doping ends in 2010.
Italian second division team Ceramica Flaminia has confirmed it has signed Riccò to a two-year contract and is expected to officially announce the news in a press conference this weekend.
The 25-year-old Riccò tested positive for CERA, a third generation EPO, during the 2008 Tour de France and was quickly kicked out of the race. Italian officials later reduced the ban to 20 months citing the former Saunier Duval rider’s “collaboration” with investigators.
Riccò’s ban ends May 18, 2010 and he could even race next year’s Milan-San Remo if the team is invited to participate.
Ceramica Flaminia, the team of Italian champion Filippo Simeoni, wasn’t invited to race the Giro d’Italia this year, but did compete in Milan-San Remo and Tirreno-Adriatico.
Riccò’s positive was one of the most notorious to last year’s Tour, when a new detection method was employed by French officials to nab cheats using CERA. Leonardo Piepoli, another Saunier Duval rider, was eventually snagged in the same net.