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Prosecutor seeks 20-month ban for Italy's Ricco

Italy's anti-doping prosecutor is seeking a 20-month ban for Riccardo Ricco, who was expelled from this year's Tour de France for using prohibited substances. The Italian cyclist has admitted to using the banned blood booster EPO before the Tour.

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Italian Riccardo Ricco, who admitted he took blood booster EPO before this year's Tour de France, could face a 20-month ban after being charged by Italy's anti-doping body on Monday.

 

A statement from the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said a 20-month suspension was being sought by the anti-doping prosecutor and that a tribunal would make the final decision.
 

A two-year ban would normally be requested but his admission meant the prosecutor felt he merited a reduced sentence.

 

Ricco tested positive in a doping control after the fourth stage of July's three-week race and soon admitted his guilt having initially expressed his innocence.

 
"I think I have made a good gesture for everyone to have admitted my mistakes," Ricco said when he appeared before the CONI prosecutor in July.

 

The 25-year-old also warned that testing procedures needed to be looked at.

 

"During the Tour they made a lot of tests, they made 10 tests in about 13 legs, two were positive and in fact in theory all the tests should have been positive therefore the method needs to be checked," he said.

 
The rider was kicked out of the race and sacked by his Saunier-Duval team, who also left the Tour.

 

Fellow Italian Leonardo Piepoli was sacked by Saunier-Duval at the same time as Ricco despite not failing a drugs test. Team bosses said they were unhappy with his answers when he was questioned about doping.
He also appeared before the CONI prosecutor in July but said he had only been heard as a witness.
 

Ricco, who won two stages at the Tour before his departure and was second in May's Giro d'Italia, also faced a criminal probe in France for possession and use of drugs.

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