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French court finds Ricco guilty

6/29/2010

TOULOUSE, France -- The lawyer for cyclist Riccardo Ricco says the Italian rider has been found guilty by a French court of a doping offense on the 2008 Tour de France.

The court in Foix in southwest France gave Ricco a two-month suspended prison sentence and a $3,700 fine on Tuesday after finding him guilty of "using a poisonous substance."

His lawyers had argued that since he had already been convicted in Italy on similar charges, he should not be penalized twice. Lawyer Annamaria Tripicchio-Rogier said the rider was leaving open the possibility of an appeal.

Ricco tested positive for CERA, an advanced version of the banned blood-boosting hormone EPO, after winning two mountain stages on the 2008 Tour.

He has already served a 20-month ban and has returned to cycling with the Ceramica Flaminia team. The team is not taking part in this year's Tour de France, which begins Saturday.