Riccardo Riccò is making headlines again for all the wrong reasons, with the banned Italian being caught up in a police raid this week in Italy.
Riccò, who is already banned for 12 years from competition following doping infractions, was reportedly nabbed Tuesday by Italian police with performance-enhancing drugs he allegedly purchased from dealers in a McDonald’s parking lot in Livorno, Italy.
On Thursday, Riccò denied the reports, and claimed he had nothing to do with PEDs confiscated by Italian police.
“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Riccò said via a statement from his lawyer. “They have nothing to do with me.”
In a statement released to the Italian news agency ANSA, Riccò’s lawyer insisted the former pro was not carrying any drugs on his body, saying they belonged to a friend.
The raid is the latest misstep for Italy’s self-styled “Cobra,” who was ejected from the 2008 Tour de France after testing positive for CERA.
Following his ban, he returned with Vacansoleil-DCM but nearly died after reportedly botching an auto-infusion of his own blood. Riccò ended up in a hospital, where health officials notified authorities, later resulting in a 12-year ban that runs through 2024.
The ban effectively ended Riccò’s professional career, but he announced his intention of competing in gran fondo public rides, and said he was going to attempt to break climbing records on such climbs as Mont Ventoux.