More time for Gianni Rivera

The criminal court of Tongeren has sentenced former professional cyclist Gianni Rivera (35) to nine months imprisonment because of fraud with respect to the ordering of expensive bikes and cycling clothing. Rivera has numerous previous convictions for similar offences. He was said in court to have no fixed abode in Belgium  and was sentenced in absentia.

Rivera had in 2006 ordered a number of bikes and a quantity of cycling clothing but failed to pay. He was also found guilty of stealing his  ex-girlfriend’s car.

The Genk rider was a pro from 1998 to 2000 when he was suspended for a doping offence. On that occasion he spent some time time in a psychiatric institution.

Although Rivera was born in Belgium he was presumably of Italian parentage and indeed in both 1991 and 1992 he was Italian junior cyclo-cross champion. In 1996 he began racing with a Belgian licence. He had limited success as a pro although he did, in 1998, win the Memorial Philippe Van Coningsloo. Coincidentally this race is the best result in the palmares of the late Frederiek Nolf.

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