Ricco is a strange, strange mixture of drive, work ethic, pride, & a boatload of defiance. I've been following his Twitter account for a long while, and it's like the more he's told he can't do something, the more determined he is to do it. The Gran Fondos he was banned from riding in...and he sneaked in anyway. And he alternates between poking self-deprecating fun at his doping past and flaunting it to people who tweet snarky comments about it to him. He has been training and training and training now for, what, two years? Working amazingly hard on his fitness. And for what purpose, really? He has this incredible drive that he doesn't know what to do with. I think, in his mind, he is still among the best, and by God, he's going to prove it to the world to his dying day.
His comment about Horner winning the Vuelta is telling: Se horner vince a 42 anni ho ancora delle possibilità di rientrare e forse ( molto probabilmente) vincere
"If horner wins at 42 years old I still have the possibility to come back and maybe (probably) win"
Sounds like he's partially poking fun at himself and partially keeping it in the back of his mind as a real possibility.
The latest bust? I think he desperately wanted to set a climbing record, even risking a dope bust rather than to fail on Mt. Ventoux.