Forty-year-old Esports racer suspended after anti-doping test

The Italian represented Italy in the 2023 Esports World Championships

Images from the 2023 UCI Esports World Championships
(Image credit: Zwift)

A former Continental level racer who competed in the 2023 Esports World Championships has been suspended by Italian anti-doping authorities, having tested positive for the banned steroid Stanozolol.

Luca Zanasca represented Italy at the 2023 event, where he finished 57th.

The 40-year-old, who - according to his LinkedIn account - works as a Senior Manager of Development for Assos, raced at Continental level up until 2012.

In a news update, the Italian Anti-Doping authorities stated: "The National Anti-Doping Tribunal, accepting the instance proposed by the National Anti-Doping Prosecutor's Office, has provisionally suspended the athlete Luca Zanasca (FCI member) for the violation of articles  2.1, 2.2 (Substance detected: STANOZOLOL AND ITS METABOLITES)."

The date of the test - carried out by NADO Italia - is not listed. Zanasca faces an investigation and trial, before any ban can be imposed. 

Zanasca raced for Team Italy's elite Esports division, currently known as Team Castelli p/b Elite.

In response to the suspension, managers Niccolo Martinoli and Alessio Caggiula released a joint statement, confirming that Zanasca would no longer "participate in any virtual cycling events we host and/or participate."

They added: "This decision is effective immediately and pertains solely to activities conducted on the Zwift platform, which is our exclusive venue for organizing virtual cycling events."

They also confirmed: "The Team wishes to emphasize that every rider competing for the Team Italy elite division, presently known as Team Castelli p/b Elite, is not currently under contract or holds a cycling license with the team.

"We operate as an esports team and await recognition of our discipline under Italian law."

This year’s Esports World Championships were held on Zwift in February, and were won by Denmarks’ Bjørn Andreassen and Loes Adegeest of the Netherlands. Other previous winners include Jay Vine, now of UAE Team Emirates, and Team AG Insurance - Soudal Quick-Step’s Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio. 

In August, the UCI tool the decision to move the competition to Esports platform MyWhoosh for the years 2024-2026, a move which Zwift said it was "disappointed" by.  

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