Italian cyclist Ricco gets 12-year doping ban

Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco was given a 12-year doping ban by the National Anti-doping Tribunal on Thursday.

The Tribunal accepted the Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping prosecutor's request after Ricco, 28, was accused of giving himself a blood transfusion.

He was also hit with a 5,000-euro fine and ordered to pay 15,000 euros in costs.

The ban is back-dated to the beginning of the year and means he wouldn't be eligible to compete again until January 18, 2024, when he would be 40, essentially ending his career.

Ricco maintains he is innocent and merely injected himself with an iron solution but a doctor who operated on him claimed Ricco had tried to give himself a blood transfusion.

In February last year Ricco ended up in hospital with kidney problems after the apparent transfusion attempt.

Close to death, he allegedly told the doctor he had given himself a transfusion with blood kept in his fridge.

Experts have dismissed his claims of injecting himself with an iron solution, saying it would not have produced the symptoms from which he was suffering.

An investigation concluded in September revealed through bacteriological analysis of Ricco's blood that his infection was caused by a failed blood transfusion.

Following the incident he was sacked by his Vacansoleil team.

He then claimed he would quit cycling because it made him feel sick, however he later recanted and said he wanted to continue racing.

Ricco had 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.

That was the year 'The Cobra' came to prominence, winning two stages and finishing second overall at the Tour of Italy, although he courted controversy by proving to be an ungracious loser, claiming that he and not Alberto Contador had deserved to win due to his more attacking approach.

He went on to win another pair of stages at the Tour de France but subsequently tested positive for doping and was thrown out of the race, as well as fired by his then Saunier Duval team.

  • Wednesday #sgroundup: More than 300 people missing after South Korean ferry sinks - coastguard 2 hours 27 minutes ago
    Wednesday #sgroundup: More than 300 people missing after South Korean ferry sinks - coastguard

    Here are the top trending stories of the day in case you missed them:

  • 2015 Chevrolet Trax small SUV rolls back to America 14 hours ago
    2015 Chevrolet Trax small SUV rolls back to America

    For the past two years, car shoppers from Acapulco to Winnipeg could wander into their Chevy dealers and kick the tires on a city-sized sport utility vehicle named the Trax — and about 90,000 have done so. Today, Chevy revealed the version of the Trax it will bring to the United States, for those less well-heeled buyers who want the shape of an SUV without the window sticker they usually carry.

  • Ford Transit Skyliner concept revives the ultra-luxury van 16 hours ago
    Ford Transit Skyliner concept revives the ultra-luxury van

    “Once you do stand-up, you don’t want to go back.” No, we’re not talking about comedy, but rather an emerging trend in luxury transport that’s bringing us ever taller, more capacious, more pimpdillyicious limousines. The quote came from a Ford designer, Tim Stoehr, predicting an increase in interest in limos based on big vans like the new Transit. Of course, these are nothing new; up-fitters have taken quite kindly to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and apparently Ford is chomping at the bit to get in on the action, too. So Ford enlisted the help of the largest Ford dealer in the world, Galpin Auto Sports in Van Nuys, Calif., to help design and build its first super-lux Transit concept, dubbed the Skyliner.

  • Amazon to release smartphone later this year: report
    Amazon to release smartphone later this year: report

    Amazon is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of 2014, thrusting itself into a market already crowded with Apple and Samsung models, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company aims to announce its new product by the end of June and ship to customers by the end of September in time for the holidays, the Journal said in a Friday report, citing unnamed people briefed on the matter. Amazon, it said, hopes to differentiate its phone from other models with a screen that displays hologram-like three-dimensional images, which can be viewed without special glasses. Earlier this month the retailer unveiled a new media streaming device, Amazon Fire TV, which it touted as simplifying the experience of watching video online.

  • Supermodel Qi Qi is afraid of flying
    Supermodel Qi Qi is afraid of flying

    The supermodel said that she will take her daughter in a vacation but will try to avoid boarding a plane

  • One dead as S. Korea ferry with 476 passengers sinks
    One dead as S. Korea ferry with 476 passengers sinks

    South Korea's coastguard said Wednesday one person had been killed as it struggled to rescue 476 people -- mostly high school students -- aboard a ferry that ran aground and sank off the southern coast. "The ferry is almost completely submerged," Lee said, adding that a detachment of South Korean Navy SEALS were taking part in the rescue. Of the 450 passengers on board the ferry bound for the southern resort island of Jeju, 325 were students from a high school in Ansan, south of Seoul. The 6,825-tonne ferry, which had sailed out of the western port of Incheon on Tuesday evening, ran into trouble some 20 kilometres (13 miles) off the island of Byungpoong.