Matteo Rabottini 'living in hell' after EPO positive test

The Italian has worked with the UCI in naming the supplier of the drug, but says he has lost everything after his failed anti-doping test

RABOTTINI Matteo (ITA) Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo Photo : Yuzuru SUNADA
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Italian cyclist Matteo Rabottini says that he paid 300 Euro for a life of hell. For the money, the 2012 Giro d'Italia stage winner bought a vial of EPO in August 2014 that resulted in a positive anti-doping test, the loss of his pro contract, and his family rejecting him.

Rabottini confessed to the UCI and named his supplier. He is now serving a suspension that ends this May and paying off a loan that he took to cover the €91,000 (£66,717) fine.

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"An ex-cyclist from the East [sold it to me]. I named him to the police, and he's being investigated," Rabottini told La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper today.

"I bought a vial of 5000 units for 300 Euro. I took 500 units that day, August 3, and 500 units the next day directly into my vein. On August 7, they knocked on the door for a surprise control. On September 12, an e-mail arrived, then a telephone call from the UCI. My life ended that day, I entered hell."

The former team Neri Sottoli cyclist won a stage and mountain's classification at the 2012 Giro and was due to represent the Italian team at the Ponferrada World Championships in 2013 before the news broke. He said that he never doped before that August day, but that after the Giro in 2012 he could "never return to that level again."

"I don't have anyone now. In the hell that I lived through, everyone abandoned me," Rabottini added.

"When the news broke, my dad took it very badly [Luciano raced as a professional - ed.]. Since then, he and my mum don't talk to me. My partner also left me with my son Diego. They say time heals everything, but it's not that way. It's hell, that's it. For that reason, I say to the youngsters, 'I know what hell is, don't make my mistakes.'"

Rabottini is paying his €91,000 fine, which is 70% of the €130,000 salary he was receiving at the time.

"I don't know what else to do. I started riding again. I only have one bike, the one that they gave me when I won the Giro stage. I sold my car and took out a loan to pay the fine," he said.

"What did doping serve? Nothing. I was only desperation, nothing else."

Rabottini, 28, added that he hopes to be able to race again after May 6 when his suspension ends.

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.