The UAE Team Emirates cyclists at the Tour De France team presentation in Nice.
The UAE Team Emirates cyclists Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: UAE Team Emirates have secured the services of Fabrizio Guidi as Sports Director with the team during the 2021 season.

The 48-year-old Guidi comes to the UAE outfit with much experience after having spent time in a similar role with other teams including Nippo, Saxo-Tinkoff and most recently at EF Pro Cycling.

Guidi showed a lot of enthusiasm in linking up with his new team. “It’s a team I have admired for a long time. I’m happy and proud to join a strong and ambitious team with a solid project for the future,” Guidi said. “It’s an important opportunity and I can’t wait to spend my energy on this exciting adventure.”

Guidi is the second new Sports Director for 2021 after the earlier appointment of Fabio Baldato in a similar role for the team’s 2021 campaign.

Born in Pontedera in the Province of Pisa in Italy, Guidi has won over 40 races since turning professional in 1995. Among his major successes was the Italian winning two stages of the Giro d’Italia and three stages of the 1998 Vuelta a Espana. He retired as a professional rider at the end of 2007 season during his last season for British team Barloworld.

Meanwhile, former Italian rider Riccardo Ricco has been banned for life by Italian anti-doping authorities after being found guilty in yet another doping investigation.

In 2015, Ricco had been accused of trying to buy EPO and testosterone after being caught red-handed with two dealers by Italian police in a car park in the Tuscan town of Livorno. Although he no longer has a racing licence, the Tribunale Nazionale Anti-Doping banned him for life. Ricco was also ordered to pay a fine of €4,000 (Dh18,000) and €378 in costs.

In recent times, the Italian anti-doping authorities have got tough and banned a number of people involved for a total of 100 years, including another former rider and a former professional football player. As per records available, the drugs were allegedly stolen from a hospital and then sold on to a number of athletes.

Ricco won stages at the Giro d’Italia and was the best young rider in 2008. However, he tested positive for the blood-boosting drug CERA during the Tour de France the same year. He served a two-year ban and made a comeback in 2010, but his career ended when he was rushed to hospital in 2011 after allegedly carrying out a transfusion with an infected bag of blood he had kept in his fridge at home.

He was suspended for 12 years, but continued to ride a bike. He was invited to take part in several Gran Fondo events and announced his record attempts on cycling biggest climbs. After the 2015 accusations, Ricco moved to Tenerife and opened an ice-cream parlour.