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Riccardo Riccò still in hospital, officials widen investigation

Riccardo Riccò remains in an Italian hospital more than a week after being hospitalized for an apparent blood transfusion gone wrong.

Riccò hasn't been on a ProTour team since the '08 Tour.
Riccò at the 2008 Tour

Riccardo Riccò remains in an Italian hospital more than a week after being hospitalized for an apparent blood transfusion gone wrong.

The Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Riccò has been transferred to the cardiology department due to heart and lung complications that have put doctors on the alarm. The medical team continues to monitor Riccò’s condition and have not indicated when he might be able to leave.

La Gazzetta also reported that an official investigation has widened to see if Riccò received help in what was an apparent auto-transfusion of blood. Riccò reportedly told medical staff when he entered the hospital on Feb. 6 that he had transfused his own blood.

Officials have reportedly searched the homes of Riccò and his fiancée, Vania Rossi. Police are also questioning others close to Riccò to see if he received help in his apparent blood-doping practices.

On Feb. 11, Vacansoleil suspended Riccò and team officials suggested they may seek legal action against the troubled Italian climber.

Riccò, who tested positive for CERA-EPO during the 2008 Tour de France, now faces a lifetime ban for what would be a second doping offense.