by Conal Andrews, velonation.com:
Quick Step team doctor Yvon Van Mol has received a thank you from the team sponsor Frans De Cock for the caution he urged last August in relation to Riccardo Riccò.
The Italian climber was at the time courting teams for 2011, and his agent claimed that a deal had been done with the Belgian squad. This turned out not to be the case, and Riccò ultimately went to Vacansoleil.
“Two people did not want Ricco: Jerome Pineau and doctor Yvan Van Mol,” Riccò’s agent Giuseppe Acquadro said at the time to La Gazzetta dello Sport. “It’s not worth speculating about: Van Mol didn’t like him at all, and it had nothing to do with his physical characteristics, since he did not even ask to see his health record.”
It appears now that Van Mol had suspicions about the rider and his ability to stay out of trouble. His caution was well-founded, as Riccò was hospitalised last weekend in a very serious condition. Since then, it has emerged that the likely cause for his illness was a botched blood transfusion. He is being investigated by Italian police and the national Olympic Committee, had his house raided in recent days, and will most likely face a lifetime ban from the sport as a second offender.