With Alberto Contador likely to be cleared by the Spanish authorities of cheating his way to a third Tour de France title last summer, Sean Kelly has condemned the latest cyclist to heap scandal on the sport.

Kelly, along with Isle of Man sprint king Mark Cavendish — who won the opening stage into Waterford during the 2008 Tour of Ireland — have poured scorn on Riccardo Ricco’s reckless deceit.

The Italian climber, who burst on the scene three years ago before being busted for blood doping after two stage wins at the Tour de France, was admitted to hospital last Sunday week with liver failure after carrying out an “autologous transfusion” on himself.

Though no longer in a critical condition, Ricco, 27, whose nickname is ‘Cobra’, faces a five-year ban, and possibly a lifetime expulsion, not to mention a prospective jail sentence.