A Mantova – Ricco query. What the fettuccine is going on?

Ricco. Another comeback, but how?

Just a cycling-related legal question that has so far defied our limited attempts at comprehension:

How does the Italian legal system work?

We ask because we keep wondering what is going on with Operation Mantova and the investigation into Riccardo Ricco’s supposedly botched illegal blood transfusion.

Gazzetta dello Sport had published phone transcripts of BMC rider Alessandro Ballan discussing taking human growth hormone with pharmacist Guido Nigrelli. Yet after pulling Ballan out of competition for the second time in 12 months because of Mantova, BMC  boss Jim Ochowicz just re-instated Ballan.

Ochowicz doesn’t know if the Italian was guilty or clean, all he knows is nothing new is happening in the Italian investigations. Just loud noise without consequence. “Shocking” revelations are published and then silence, followed by more shocking revelations and nothing.

Things are equally quiet on the Ricco front.

At the time of Ricco’s near-death experience, news reports had stated that an emergency room doctor heard Ricco say he had confessed to a home blood transfusion. De Telegraaf reported that an examination of his blood showed signs of a transfusion.

Is that statement true or not and what is the status of this case? If in fact that is a fact, it’s a second offense and Ricco’s career is over. His mistake with the stale blood occured back in February; it’s June now and it’s like nothing ever happened.

Why is he signing with a new team? The Cobra is dead yet the snake slithers on.

We are mystified and baffled.

What exactly is going on, how is it going on, is it going at all, what the fettuccine, you know?

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  • RideLikeaGirl1

    C'mon now – Anybody can have a near-death experience from kidney failure. Certainly, you must have family or good friends who have encountered a similar situation and nobody questioned it.

  • Ricola

    It appears that the Italian sport-related legal system has a lot in common with Pat "Hot-Air" McQuaid…

    However, I agree with RideLikeaGirl1 here, if Riccò's admission to the hospital was the result of a medical emergency unrelated to doping, then he was not only very unfortunate but also is free to sign teams and race the bike wherever he likes….

    • http://www.atwistedspoke.com TwistedSpoke

      Boy, it sure seemed like that had proof of a transfusion — statement to doctor and test that proved transfusion. I don't know the laws in Italy about the patient-doctor confidentiality. Matt