Ricco banned for doping at Tour

AIGLE, Switzerland -- The International Cycling Union said Friday it has given Italian rider Riccardo Ricco a two-year worldwide ban for doping at the 2008 Tour de France.

But the governing body left the door open for the 25-year-old mountain stage specialist to reduce the suspension -- and become eligible for the 2010 Giro d'Italia -- if he shares information on doping with its lawyers.

"We have had nothing so far from Ricco," union spokesman Enrico Carpani said. "If the UCI should get the evidence of cooperation which apparently he gave to [the Court of Arbitration for Sport] it is ready to consider all the possibilities to reduce the ban."

Ricco tested positive for CERA, an advanced version of the banned blood-boosting hormone EPO, after winning two stages of the 2008 Tour.

The French anti-doping authority banned him from racing in France for two years, and then the Italian Olympic committee imposed the same suspension in his home country.

Ricco appealed the Italian decision at CAS and got a reduced suspension of 20 months for providing information on doping in the peloton.

The revised ban ran through March 17, 2010, clearing Ricco to start the Giro next May. He was runner-up in the 2008 race.

However, the UCI said it imposed its two-year sanction because Italy's Olympic committee did not have authority in the case.

Ricco can return to CAS, sport's highest court of appeal, to challenge UCI's decision.

Ricco has signed to return to racing with the Ceramica Flaminia team next season.