Italian cyclist Riccardo Riccò was on Thursday banned for two years by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) after he tested positive for EPO during the Tour de France.
Riccò, 24, was suspended from riding by CONI in July after admitting to using the banned blood-booster. He was kicked off the Tour de France and sacked by his Saunier-Duval team after testing positive following the fourth stage time trial.
He initially protested his innocence but following a meeting with CONI officials, he admitted to his offense, even criticizing testing procedures because he had passed many tests despite being doped.
Riccò’s sanction entails bans of 18 months for the EPO doping offense and a further six months for having consulted disgraced doctor Carlo Santuccione, the Ansa news agency reported.
According to Ansa, Riccò will be free to ride again from July 30, 2010.