Ricco in hospital after falling ill during training

Vacansoleil rider no longer critical

Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco has been hospitalised after he was taken ill during training. The Vacansoleil racer was first reported to be in a critical condition but later reports said he was making progress.

Italian news agency ANSA said that "his state of health, critical to start off with – according to the Nuovo Ospedale Civile Sant'Agostino Estense di Baggiovara clinic – has improved", but the report reserved any judgment on further progress.

Rubinho Ricco, the racer's father, said his son had suffered a "kidney failure" after a Sunday training session amid reports he could be suffering from kidney stones. He added that Riccardo was conscious and talking. The hospital said it would release an update on the racer's condition this afternoon.

Ricco, 27, returned from a 20-month suspension in March after he was found to have taken EPO substance CERA during the 2008 Tour de France. Nicknamed 'the Cobra', he rode for Ceramica Flaminia earlier this season but wanted to move to a bigger team and Vacansoleil fitted the bill as they are seeking to be allocated a ProTeam licence for next term.

© AFP 2011

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