Riccardo Riccò (Ceramica Flaminia) has won his first race since serving his ban for doping, taking the third stage of the Settimana Lombarda race in Lumezzane in northern Italy.
Riccò beat Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli) and Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil) on the uphill finish after an early break by nine riders was caught just four kilometres from the line. Scarponi still leads overall, 17 seconds ahead of Riccò. Carrara is third at 18 seconds.
Ricco hadn't won a race since the 2008 Tour de France but that victory was cancelled from the record because of his positive for CERA. His last win still on his palmares was a stage at the 2008 Giro d'Italia
"I knew I was on form and that the finish suited me. I want to thank my all teammates because, like in every race I've contested so, they all rode for me, so this is also their victory," Riccò told Tuttobiciweb.
"I haven't put my arms to celebrate a win for a while and it's great to have finally done it again. I always race to win whenever I pin a number on my back and sometimes it works out.... I started my sprint with just a hundred metres to go because if you go too early on finishes like this you die and don't make it. I chose the right moment, had the legs and think I won it pretty easily."
Riccò was asked about the news of Vania Rossi's B sample resulting negative for CERA. Despite the Italian Olympic Committee saying they still plan to investigate the case and the strained relationships between Riccò and Rossi, he insisted it was good news. He also made it clear he will be trying to win the overall classification at the Settimana Lombarda.
"I was indirectly involved and yesterday's news was really pleasing and my win completes a good moment," Riccò said. "Now we'll see what happens in the rest of the race. It ends on Monday, it's not over yet."
Sunday's 152.8km forth stage is around Grumello del Monte after a long loop along the northern shore of Lake Iseo. Monday's 153km stage is from Montello to Bergamo.