Riccardo Ricco facing 12-year ban

ROME -- The Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping prosecutor recommended Wednesday that cyclist Riccardo Ricco receive a 12-year ban for a second doping offense.

Ricco has not raced since he was rushed to a hospital after falling ill at his home near Modena in February. The doctor who treated him reportedly told police that Ricco admitted transfusing his own blood, which he allegedly kept in his home refrigerator.

Ricco was already banned 20 months after testing positive for the blood-booster CERA after winning two mountain stages in the 2008 Tour de France.

The new case now will be decided by CONI's internal anti-doping court, with Ricco also facing an inquiry from the public prosecutor in Modena.

Ricco was provisionally suspended by CONI in June "for reasons related to the athlete's own health" when he was preparing to race again after joining the third-division Meridiana-Kamen team.

He was fired by Dutch team Vacansoleil-DCM after the incident in February, having previously been fired by the Saunier-Duval team for his positive tests at the 2008 Tour.