Ricco banned for 12 years for 2nd doping offense

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MILAN (AP) -Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco has been banned for 12 years by the country's anti-doping tribunal for his second doping offense.

The tribunal agreed on Thursday with the length of the ban proposed by the Italian Olympic Committee in October.

Ricco hasn't raced since he was rushed to a hospital after falling ill at his home near Modena in February, 2011. The doctor who treated him reportedly told police the cyclist confessed to using tranfusions of his own blood, which he allegedly kept in his home refrigerator.

He was fired by Dutch team Vacansoleil-DCM after the incident. Ricco was preparing to race again after joining third-division team Meridiana-Kamen, but CONI provisionally suspended him in June "for reasons related to the athlete's own health."

Ricco had been banned for 20 months after testing positive for the blood-booster CERA following his victories in two mountain stages at the 2008 Tour de France. He was fired by Saunier-Duval.

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