Riccardo Ricco signs with Vacansoleil
Riccardo Ricco has signed a contract with the Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team, effective immediately, for the next two seasons.
After returning from his 20 month doping ban in March this year, the Italian rode for Ceramica Flaminia until his contract was terminated late last week. There were persistent rumours that he would sign with Quick.Step, but Vacansoleil confirmed on Tuesday morning that he had signed with them.
In a statement given out by Vacansoleil, Ricco expressed his enthusiasm for his new squad. “I am happy to be back and although I believe everyone deserves a second chance I know I’m not there yet,” he said. “I aim to give the fans great events by racing aggressively and honestly.
“By choosing for the Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team I choose for a team where they have a zero tolerance policy and where a clean sport is one of the major objectives, a team which sets the example will be good for me in my second life as a cyclist. During the meetings with Vacansoleil they were strict but fair in their conditions and I am confident in our cooperation. I will not betray their trust and image and will pay them back with great results.”
“The sponsor and the sporting team believe that Riccardo Ricco, who has been punished, deserve a second chance,” said Vacansoleil manager Daan Luijkx. “Riccardo has paid his debt. In the past few years, riders who have previously been suspended have helped to restore a cleaner image to cycling. Riccardo is going to join this group.”
Vacansoleil are hoping that Ricco will be given permission by the UCI to race in the GP Plouay this weekend.
Roman Kreuziger to Astana
Rising Czech cycling star Roman Kreuziger signed for Kazakh outfit Astana on a two year contract on Tuesday from Italian team Liquigas.
The 24-year-old – winner of this year’s Tour of Sardinia and fourth in the Paris-Nice – said he was delighted to be teaming up with Kazakh veteran Alexandre Vinokourov.
“I needed a change of scene in order to rediscover my motivation,” said Kreuziger, who showed his potential for higher things when he placed ninth in the 2009 Tour de France.
“I think that Astana can provide just that. I am really happy to be in the same team as Alexandre Vinokourov.”
Kreuziger, who turned professional in 2006, has also won the 2008 Tour of Switzerland and the 2009 Tour of Romandy.
© AFP 2010…