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Thursday, April 19, 2012
Riccardo Ricco banned 12 years

Associated Press

MILAN -- Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco was banned 12 years for his second doping offense.

The country's anti-doping tribunal agreed Thursday with the length of the ban proposed by the Italian Olympic Committee in October. Ricco also was fined $6,540 and ordered to pay legal costs of $19,630.

Ricco hasn't raced since he was taken to a hospital after becoming ill at his home near Modena in February 2011. The doctor who treated him reportedly told police the cyclist acknowledged using transfusions of his own blood, which he allegedly kept in his refrigerator.

He was then fired by the Dutch team Vacansoleil-DCM. Ricco was preparing to race again after joining the third-division team Meridiana-Kamen, but the Italian Olympic Committee suspended him in June for "reasons related to the athlete's own health."

Ricco had been banned for 20 months after testing positive for the blood-booster CERA following his victories in two mountain stages at the 2008 Tour de France. He was fired by Saunier-Duval.