Italian gelati-maker Riccardo Riccò has come out against the COVID-19 vaccine in a recent social media post.
Riccò, who was one of the most prominent and brazen dopers in cycling’s recent history, made the surprising remarks in a Facebook post (no longer publicly visible) in which he outlined his new no-needles policy.
Translated, Riccò’s remarks were:
“I have read many people that say that the vaccine must be obligatory!!!! Are we joking!!!
I do what I want with my body. Nobody can make me do something that if it were to have a negative effect on my body, I would be the only one that would lose.
So: You can get injected with who knows what shit too, but don’t fuck [over] people like me that have been well informed (by doctor friends) and that are not going to take a damn vaccine.
Over and out.”
Since his sporting peak in 2008 – when a rampaging Riccò finished second at the Giro d’Italia, won two stages of the Tour de France, and was then unceremoniously booted for a positive test for CERA – the Italian has made intermittent appearances in headlines.
In 2011, he was rushed to hospital with sepsis and kidney failure after transfusing himself with an old blood bag. Riccò denied blood doping – which this incident was conspicuously a near-fatal example of – but was handed a 12-year suspension by the Italian anti-doping authority nonetheless.
In 2014, Riccò had another brush with the authorities when he was caught meeting drug-dealers in a McDonald’s carpark, allegedly with the intent to buy EPO and testosterone. He claimed he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, although I contend that there is no wrong time for l’icona del gusto that is McDonald’s.
In the years since, he has shown some signs of repentance, calling himself a “talented little bully” and “an idiot who threw away money and a career.”
That introspection eventually led to a successful career as a gelati-maker (“if a child says my ice-cream is good, I’m happy!”), which is a satisfying redemption arc for one of the most flagrant dopers of this century, who spent years “doing things that had a negative effect on [his] body”, “injecting [himself] with who knows what shit”, and is now firmly opposed to a legitimate vaccine to a global pandemic that has killed a couple of million people.
Riccardo Riccò remains the most Riccardo Riccò. Over and out.