The guy is 29, what's the difference between a 12 year ban and a lifetime ban? It's not like he will win the Giro at 41. Unlike for example Di Luca who's still riding for a ProTour team despite more than one doping offence, Ricco will most likely actually face a career-ending doping sentence. He was treated harshly by journos, fans, other pros- some even said he deserved kidney failure. He almost certainly has no way back to the sport. Even if he was cleared or given a ban that would allow him to come back before he's too old, I'm sure he wouldn't find a place in any of the top teams. Which DS would risk bringing a rider with such history and personality like Ricco's, who would work for him or even want him as a teammate- most riders seem to either want to punch him or see him in prison? He's that kind of guy, a bit like Rasmussen, who people generally want to get rid of- I'm almost certain he's on the infamous blacklist now. It's really of little importance how long his ban ends up being, Riccardo Ricco who perhaps had the potential to challenge Contador can't bounce back, what's the point of discussing whether it should be 6, 12 or 50 years?
And pretty much every doper has a ridiculous excuse ready, I can think of many that are way more stupid than this one.
From the beginning it feels a bit like people find it easier to single Ricco out because he's such an unpleasant guy. But it will probably be better for him to move away from cycling, if only he can find something less destructive to do with his life.