Italian Riccardo Ricco is out of the Tour de France after being accused of using the performance-enhancing drug — EPO.
The 24-year-old cyclist sat in ninth place overall and had won two stages at this year's Tour. His entire team, Saunier-Duval, opted to pull out of the race.
Ricco is the third cyclist to be accused of using EPO during this year's Tour, which is turned out to be as dirty as last year's. Earlier, Moises Duenas Nevado of Barloworld and Manuel Beltran of Liquigas.
Ricco finished in second-place overall in this year's Giro d'Italia. Commentators had been refering to him as a future star of the peloton, and he rode in the top position for Saunier Duval.
The cyclist had won stages 6 and 9 at this year's Tour. The sample that came back positive was taken after Stage 4. As usual, two samples are taken and no official findings will be made until after the second sample has been tested.
Both of Ricco's victories came on mountain stages. Saunier Duval's decision to withdraw also hurts teammate Leonardo Piepoli, who won Stage 10, and Juan Jose Cobo, who sat in 8th place overall.
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