It's called "blood doping"; you take some of your own blood, let your body replace it, and then add in the stashed blood on top of the replacement at the last minute. It gives you an edge on getting oxygen to your muscles, and is banned in cycling. CNN points out that it's also illegal in the eyes of Italy's legal system, which means Ricco could clock jail time.
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey says Ricco's situation is tragic--Ricco is currently in the hospital, seeming to be sick because of the botched transfusion. Examining reactions from team owners and riders, though, it looks like Fahey's the only one from whom Ricco can expect any sympathy.
- What Did You Expect, asks Continental team An Post's Sean Kelly: "when you look at his history it's always a big risk taking a rider like this . . .if I had a team that were in a position looking for riders, Ricco would never come on the list."
- He Doesn't Deserve Sympathy, according to HTC-Highroad's Rolf Aldag, who told Cycling News that when he found out Ricco was in the hospital he was shocked, but "then you hear the news behind it and then it makes you very, very, angry."
- See Ya Fellow Italian Manuel Quinziato lit into Ricco, telling Le Monde that his reaction was, "so long, Riccardo! We won't miss you."
- Ricco Is an 'Idiot,' says Swiss Fabian Cancellara, also quoted by Le Monde. "Ricccardo will again make cycling synonymous with doping. It's terrible for our sport. We can as much put it back together as send it to the moon" he says.
*Le Monde translation by Heather Horn