Such is the case of Riccardo Riccò.
Riccò was welcomed to the professional ranks as a highly-touted climber on the Saunier Duval-Prodir team. Given his early successes, many thought that he'd become a contender for the grand tours. But he was never far removed from the dark world of doping and in 2008, he was suspended for 2 years after testing positive for EPO during the Tour de France. He returned this year as a member of the Vacansoleil team, stating that he was a changed man and that he had begun working with Also Sassi, the highly regarded Italian coach and anti-doping advocate. Dr Sassi did not get much time to work with him, passing away in December 2010 from brain cancer.
And then what did Riccò do? He got himself sick by trying to transfuse his own blood into himself... less than 2 months after Sassi died. As a human being, I hope Riccò recovers. But as a fan, I hope he never rides as a professional cyclist again. Not only is he stupid beyond imagination (and I'm being kind here... if you consider how dumb you have to be to transfuse blood that's been stored in your refrigerator next to the milk and eggs) but he lacks any sense of integrity or honesty. As Giorgio Squinzi, the owner of Mapei (which sponsors both cycling teams and a training center) said, it's like killing Aldo Sassi a second time. I agree 100%.
Other cyclists have also lashed out at Riccò, including one of my favorites, Fabian Cancellara, who said that "in the end, we should stand him up and shoot him to the moon, that's all; because these people don't understand anything about life.... One time idiot, always idiot." I think that Cancellara might have to work on his insults because I'm not exactly sure what it means to "shoot someone to the moon," but I agree with him as well.
On a brighter note, I am happy to recognize the Most Improved Kit for the 2011 season. Actually, the award could also be named the "Thank you for not making me look naked on the bike" award. Geox-TMC, which was the Footon-Servetto last year, showed off their new kit for 2011.
previous blog entry. But to refresh your memory, here's their kit from last year. I remember the first time I saw them last year.... I distinctly remember thinking "WTF? Why are they naked?"
I mean, seriously, if you're going to look like that, you might as well go all the way. Because this spectator looked more disturbingly awesome than they did. Or maybe that's just disturbing.
On a final note, Geox-TMC was a little shocked to not be awarded a ProTour license this year. Especially since they had two very strong grand tour contenders in Carlos Sastre and Denis Menchov. But there may be hope for them yet because there is a possibility that the Saxo Bank team may lose its ProTour license if Contador is suspended. Stay tuned....