12 Feb 2011

Doping suspect Ricco suspended by team

6:02 pm on 12 February 2011

The disgraced Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco who is suspected to have performed a blood transfusion on himself has been suspended from competition by his Vacansoleil team.

Ricco returned from a doping ban early last year however the Italian climbing specialist aroused suspicion when he was admitted to hospital last week suffering from a suspected blood infection.

Reports claimed Ricco made himself ill by injecting blood which had not been stored properly - blood transfusions are a well-known method of enhancing performance, especially among endurance athletes.

The Dutch team issued a statement suggesting they had found enough proof of a doping infraction to suspend the Italian, and were taking legal advice about ending his contract.