Ricco administered 'off' blood

2011-02-08 21:50

Rome - The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has opened an investigation into Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco, who was hospitalised after being taken ill during training on Sunday, judicial sources said on Tuesday, amid media reports he may have suffered from the effects of a self-administered blood transfusion.

The Vacansoleil racer's father Rubinho Ricco, indicated on Monday that the problem could be "kidney failure."

But the Gazzetta dello sport cited an unnamed doctor at Pavullo hospital - whose emergency admissions service Ricco had gone to Sunday - as saying that the racer had indicated he had effected a self-administered transfusion from a three-week-old sample at his home which he feared had gone off.

The Modena prosecutor has opened an investigation and is now awaiting the results of tests at the hospital.

"It is only after having received them that we can make any hypothesis on whether there has been any violation of anti-doping laws," said prosecutor Vito Zincani, who confirmed the Gazzetta item on Ricco's reported comments to the doctor regarding the alleged self-administering of blood.

CONI said it had opened an investigation "on the basis of information which has appeared in the press."

Ricco, 27, returned from a 20-month suspension in March after he was found to have taken EPO substance CERA during the 2008 Tour de France.