Riccardo Ricco, a two-stage winner of the Tour de France before being expelled for testing positive for the blood-booster EPO, tried to flee anti-doping officials after the fourth stage.

Pierre Bordry, the head of the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD), said Tuesday the Saunier Duval rider avoided an anti-doping official after the time trial on July 8.

"When he knew he was going to be tested, he went off, and it is the escort who caught him," Bordry said. "He found himself blocked off. There was a traffic jam of cars and he could not get through the cars."

Bordry said AFLD staff demanded an apology from the Italian rider.

"We asked him to apologize to the agency and the staff, which he did along with his team director," Bordry said. "We told him that, because of his behavior, we were now going to test him after each stage. He put a target on himself."

Ricco, who won the sixth and ninth stages of the Tour, was ninth overall before he was expelled Thursday before the 12th stage.

The Saunier Duval team quit the race. Ricco and teammate Leonardo Piepoli were later fired.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-07-22-08 1244EDT

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