Ricco Fired by Team for Testing Positive for EPO

July 18, 2008 7:45:50 AM PDT
Italian rider Riccardo Ricco has been fired by Saunier-Duval for testing positive for the banned blood-booster EPO during the Tour de France. The team said in a statement Friday that it felt it had been a "victim" of irresponsible behavior. Ricco, a 24-year-old Italian, won two Tour de France stages this year.

Team executive Marco Gianetti said the team has always carefully monitored its athletes. He said that despite a series of internal and external checks "we haven't been able to avoid this absurd situation."

The statement said rider Leonardo Piepoli was also fired for "violation of the team's ethical code."


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