7.17.2008

Say it ain't so, Ricardo

An update from the 2008 edition of the Tour de France:

On 7/13/08, I wrote:
Ricardo Ricco launched a huge attack on the Col d' Aspin -- he rocketed out of the main field, it looked like he had an extra gear or two compared to the other riders, and held on to win the stage. Ricco isn't always the classiest guy -- he's known for shooting off his mouth -- but he sure goes uphill fast (italics added).
Apparently, he did have an 'extra gear or two' on the field, as he tested positive (only the "A" sample so far) for a drug known as CERA (Continuous Erythropoietin Receptor Activator), and has been removed from the race -- actually, hauled away by the gendarmes, doping is now seen as criminal activity in France. Two other minor riders had been removed from the race prior to this incident but Ricco is the first major rider -- a double stage winner, and leader of both the KOM and best young rider competition -- to be removed from this year's Tour. It also raises doubts about there being a 'new generation' of cleaner riders -- perhaps the best hope is for a new generation of testing protocols....

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