Riccò banned for life, heart condition sidelines Ulissi: Daily News Digest

by Dane Cash


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Hello again, CyclingTips readers,

We head into a new week with news of a rider who hasn’t raced professionally for some time: Former Italian pro Riccardo Riccò has received a lifetime ban.

In other news, Diego Ulissi will have to spend “a few months” off the bike due to myocarditis, the Tour of Poland is mulling changes to the route of its Katowice stage, and Trek-Segafredo has unveiled its kit for 2021.

Read on for the latest from the world of cycling.

Dane Cash,
News Editor


What’s News

| Riccò receives a lifetime ban

Riccardo Ricco has received a lifetime ban from the Italian national anti-doping organization in what marks yet another sanction for the 37-year-old Italian, who last raced professionally in 2011.

Riccò, who delivered a string of promising results in his first few years as a pro, tested positive for CERA at the 2008 Tour de France and was banned for 20 months. After he returned to racing, he was hospitalized in 2011 after allegedly giving himself a blood transfusion with contaminated blood. He was subsequently banned for 12 years, but in 2014 he was reportedly caught by police while trying to purchase EPO and testosterone.

On Monday, Italian anti-doping authorities banned him for life and also ruled that he must pay a fine of €4,000 and “costs of the proceedings” amounting to €378.

| Ulissi taking ‘a temporary break from competitive activity’ due to myocarditis

UAE-Team Emirates said on Monday that Diego Ulissi is taking “a temporary break from competitive activity to carry out cardiac checks related to the development of myocarditis.”

An inflammation of the heart muscle typically caused by a virus, myocarditis is usually mild but can cause severe complications, especially in athletes, even those who are otherwise healthy. Ulissi was diagnosed with the condition following medical checks.

“Diego underwent the normal health checks required by the UCI and the team,” said UAE team doctor Michele De Grandi. “Subjectively he was fine and did not feel any disturbance, but the finding of an irregular heartbeat during a physical exertion, not previously present, gave us some doubt. Even with a normal ultrasound appearance, two new tests (Holter ECG 24 hours, which highlighted further arrhythmias, and a cardiac MRI scan) have drawn a conclusion of myocarditis.”

Ulissi will therefore spend “a few months” off the bike.

“I cannot hide the feeling of worry and anger,” Ulissi said in a statement. “I’ve never had any sign of it, I’ve always felt good; Fortunately, the team’s medical staff were quick to act and discovered this abnormality. I will take a break now which I hope will be temporary, bearing in mind that the priority is health, because life does not end with cycling.”

| Tour of Poland organizers mulling route changes for Katowice stage finish

As Cyclingnews reports, Tour of Poland organizers are mulling the possibility of making changes to the route of the stage finish in Katowice that has been featured in recent editions of the event. Fabio Jakobsen was seriously injured in a crash on the downhill finishing straight in the opening stage of this year’s race when Dylan Groenewegen drove him into the roadside barriers, some sections of which were launched back into the road.

Katowice is slated to be a part of the race again next year but organizers said that the specific route was not finalized yet (while also emphasizing the UCI’s findings that riders had been at fault in this year’s crash), telling Cyclingnews, “The UCI has ruled on this, it was the rider’s fault. We are contemplating different scenarios, we are talking to the local officials.”

| Trek-Segafredo unveils kit for 2021

Trek-Segafredo revealed its kits for 2021 on Monday. Made by Santini, the team’s 2021 men’s kit has received only small changes while the women’s kit features similar patterns to the 2020 kit with what the team calls “a remixed color palette.”

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Today’s featured image of Hennie Kuiper and Alain Bondue making their way up an iconic climb at the Tour of Flanders comes from the archives of Cor Vos. Can you name the climb?

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