Cycling team Vini Zabu announced on Friday that it would be pulling itself from competition days after a second positive doping test in less than a year. The Italian outfit was facing a ban of between 15-45 days from cycling’s governing body UCI after their rider Matteo De Bonis tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test in February. The result came after Matteo Spreafico failed a doping test at the most recent Giro d’Italia in October. Vini Zabu sacked the 28-year-old a few days later.
“We have decided to suspend ourselves until there is full clarity in the De Bonis case,” the team said in a statement.
“It’s the right thing to do while we continue to work together with the UCI.”
Italian investigators carried out a series of searches at the homes of Vini Zabu’s riders and staff, which according to an interview general manager Angelo Citracca gave to Cyclingnews led to nothing illegal being found.
“We’ve asked the UCI to hear our side of things. We don’t have a date or know anything about how the disciplinary process will unfold,” Citracca said.
The second-tier cycling team has been selected by organizers to take part in this year’s Giro, which starts in Turin on May 8.
Citracca said that his team’s participation was not guaranteed and insisted “we’re not involved in doping” despite Movement for a Credible Cycling saying that it had failed nine doping tests in the last 12 years.
“There’s a risk we won’t ride, who knows what will happen,” he said.
“It’s all happened so quickly that we’re not even thinking of the Giro. We’re still trying to understand what has happened.
“We’ve already gathered some evidence and passed it onto the police and the UCI.”
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini