PARIS, France (AFP) — Italian cyclist Riccardo Riccò is to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in a bid to have his 12-year doping ban overturned, CAS announced on Tuesday.
Having already served a 20-month ban for doping during the 2008 Tour de France, during which he was found to have taken the banned blood-booster CERA, Ricco almost died in February last year after suffering kidney problems having, the Italian National Anti-Doping Tribunal ruled in April, attempted to give himself a blood transfusion.
Riccò, nicknamed “The Cobra,” maintains he is innocent and merely injected himself with an iron solution, but a doctor who operated on him claimed Riccò was guilty.
The Italian panel handed the 28-year-old a 12-year ban in April, ruling him out of a return to competition until January 2024 and essentially ending his career as a result.
“The rider requests the annulment of the challenged decision and accordingly the cancellation of the suspension,” read a CAS statement.
Riccò came to prominence in 2008, winning two stages and finishing second in the Giro d’Italia and then winning another pair of stages in the Tour de France before being thrown off the race for doping. Riccò’s girlfriend and mother of his young child, Vania Rossi, tested positive for EPO at the Italian cyclocross championships in January 2010.