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Italian cyclist Ricco sentenced to lifetime ban

Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco, who was thrown off the Tour de France in 2008 for taking a blood-boosting drug, has been banned for life, the national anti-doping agency announced.  

The 37-year-old had already been handed a 12-year ban that was due to expire in 2024.  

He must also pay a 4 000 euro ($4 850) fine and costs of 378 euros, Nado Italia said in a statement issued Monday.  

"The first section of the national anti-doping court, in the disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Riccardo Ricco... imposes a life ban," the statement said.  

A once promising rider known as "The Cobra", Ricco's career collapsed when he was found to have taken the banned blood-booster CERA during the 2008 tour.

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