The Cobra-Parasite has a new home.
Riccardo Ricco is not going to be doing the Quick Step; instead he will be riding for the team of the Sunny Vacationers, Vacansoleil.
“I’m happy to be back and I believe everyone deserves a second chance. I know I ain’t there yet. I aim to give the fans great events by racing aggressive and honest,” said Ricco. Twisted Spoke is all for second and even third chances but what about Vania Rossi, Ricco’s estranged partner — we hope she gets a second chance.
The Sunny Vacationer management hired Ricco for one reason only: the blood. “We share the ambition and way of racing with him. If you look at the way he won the Tour of Austria, with blood all over his face after a crash but still made it to the finish, you know he is a special rider,” said team manager Daan Luijkx.
How did this deal happen? Well, RIcco had just recently returned from an enforced two year vacation for doping in the 2008 Tour de France. Vacation? The team sponsored by the Sunny Vacation people? That’s a done deal, baby.
“It all developed really quickly while we were looking for a real climber in add to our team for 2011. After we consulted the main sponsor Vacansoleil we decided to meet Riccò. The meeting made us decide to go for it,” said Luijkx said in a statement.
Luijkx also said he’d just done a thorough search of Ricco’s home, checked his cell phone for suspicious text messages and looked through his pants pockets for illegal candy. Ahh, just kidding, folks.
However, the Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team has a zero tolerance policy and that’s just fine and dandy with Ricco. “A team which sets an example will be good for me in my second life as a cyclist. They were strict in their conditions but fair and I am confident in our co-operation. I will not falsify their trust and image and will pay them back with great results,” said Ricco.
It’s time to climb some big mountains for the Sunny Vacationers. This is one smiling Cobra.